15 February 2009

Baked Pears with Calvados and Mascarpone Cheese

For Grandma Annie, a fresh, juicy pear was the ultimate treat.

It took me rather a long time to appreciate pears. I found the taste a bit metallic and far too subtle on my young palate. Give me an orange instead, later an apple. That was then. This is now.

I was an adult before I began to savor the pear, which I now realize is a more sophisticated and shapelier cousin of of the apple.

A few years back, as we settled into autumn in the southwest of France, I bought two bottles of cider, pear and apple. Pear was sweet and light, while the apple was vinegar-y and heavy to my American-bred palate. I tossed it out.

Baked Pear with Calvados and Mascarpone Cheese (serves four)

  • 2 Red Bartlett pears
  • 1/4 cup Calvados
  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

For the cheese topping:
  • 1/3 cup mascarpone cheese
  • dash vanilla extract
  • pinch sugar
  • 2 tablespoons roasted walnuts


Halve the pears, cutting from the top down, and hollow out the center. A grapefruit spoon or a sturdy melon baller is perfect for this task. Set aside.

Melt butter and sugar, add the Calvados and a pinch of cinnamon. Pour over the pears and allow them to absorb the liquid for about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, pre-heat oven to 375. Place the pears cut side up in a buttered baking dish. Drizzle the remaining liquid over the pears, allowing it to pool in the center of the pear halves. Bake for 30-40 minutes until pears are softer, but still firm.

While pears are baking, blend mascarpone with vanilla and sugar.

Remove pears from oven. Allow to cool for 10 minutes. Stuff center of pears with mascarpone cheese. Top with roasted walnuts.

The taste is subtle, the sensation on the tongue is crisp, creamy and crunchy.

19 comments:

ChazFrench said...

Again with the food porn...

Gorgeous recipe, and it's been starred to try out.

Wondering how you think that would work with a bleu instead of marscapone?

Loulou said...

I'm swooning at the thought of this! What a great looking dessert. Merci!

Mimi from French Kitchen said...

Chaz, I love pears with stilton. And I do love any bleu with walnuts...

Why thanks, LouLou - I am envying you this week...

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

I've started substituting pears in many fruit desserts that I used to make with apples. I think it's boredom; I've been eating apple desserts for my entire life, and pears are just the perfect change of pace.

Mimi from French Kitchen said...

I think you are spot on, Lydia. I like blending the two furuits, adding dried cranberries, and topping with a walnut crust.

lady jicky said...

I need to buy some calvados right away! LOL

Mimi from French Kitchen said...

Good luck, Lady J. I had to go to Paris for mine. But if I would have looked farther, I am sure I could have found some. I have in the past...

breadchick said...

Oh Mimi! I came over here to check on you and what do I find?! This incredible looking dessert.

Mimi from French Kitchen said...

Mary, you are too funny. You tempt me every time you bake!

Farmgirl Cyn said...

Mimi,
Not sure if I can find Calvados round here...what do you think about substituting Apple Pucker? JUST KIDDING!!!
I think I can get a hold of some pear brandy...bet that would work fine.

Mimi from French Kitchen said...

Oh, yeah, Cyn, that sounds good!

Pear brandy would be great. I just didn't have any on hand. But now I think I might want some...

toni said...

You remind me again of Calvados. I haven't had it in years, but I love it! And I can tell from looking at the recipe (plus your luscious photo), that I'd love this dish.

Mimi from French Kitchen said...

Toni, Calvados is a great fall and winter tipple, and I've used it in many desserts. I've nursed a bottle since May 2007.

Paula Maack said...

This looks sooo good!! I have all the ingredients on hand, too!

I made a similar recipe at Thanksgiving: Pumpkin with Mascarpone and Pecan Pralines, which I blogged about here, should you be interested.

Your recipe sounds - and looks! - wonderful. I can't wait to try it. Thank you!!!

Cheers,

~ Paula

Fiona said...

This one really caught my eye, it looks delicious. Like you, I never really appreciated the taste of a pear till I was an adult.

Mimi from French Kitchen said...

Paula, that sounds wonderful!

One more reason to relish being an adult, Fiona!

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Jann said...

Oh, this is lovely~the calvadose warms my soul! I love all these cominations.....now I am hungry!

Anne (Family Gerdel) said...

With marple syrup... it's lovely, too!