Since mid-October when it became evident I had purchased too many apples during the waning days of the local farm market, we have been feasting on baked apples laced with brown sugar and cinnamon and stuffed with raisins and walnuts.
It was time to upgrade to a pear.
As much as I love apples, pears have a certain je ne sais quois that apples lack — a subtle sophistication in both form and taste.
We loved this recipe:
Brandy Baked Pears
6 firm pears
1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup pear brandy
Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees. Peel and halve the pears. Use a melon-baller or apple corer to remove the core. Pour brown sugar into bowl or flat baking pan; coat pears with sugar.
Melt butter in shallow baking dish in microwave or oven. Add the pears, spooning some of the butter on top. Add water to the baking dish, and bake until pears become tender and sugar and butter begins to carmelize. Remove from oven, add brandy to pear dish and allow to sit for 2-5 minutes. Keep spooning juices over the pears.
For topping, I mixed mascarpone cheese with brandy and some of the juices. You can also mix 1/4 cup chilled heavy cream that has been whipped until soft peaks form with one teaspoon of brandy.
We added roasted walnuts and a shake of cinnamon to the pears before serving.