I was intent on making a pear tart when I took these perfect Anjou's from the fridge, but the snow was falling and the fire needed tending, more wood needed to be brought in from the woodshed, and a simpler approach appealed to me the more I thought about it.
What could be simpler than cored pears, cider-soaked golden sultanas, and some embellishments roasted until the pear skins begin to curl a bit and the flesh is softened ?
The pears get a sprinkle of light brown sugar and the cider used to poach the sultanas gets some water and lemon juice added to it, drizzled over the pears. As the pears roast, the sauce simmers below them with a small pat of butter added to thicken things a bit with the melting brown sugar.
While the pears begin to roast, a handful of pinenuts get toasted and then sprinkled over the pears during the second half of the roasting time ... the pears get a drizzle basting with the juices from beneath a couple times so that a nice light glaze seals the pear flesh.
Voila! Simple and I must say, just a tad elegant! Thank-you, Diana Henry for the inspiration! Diana uses a sweet wine to roast her pears, but I think the tart hard cider and lemon juice make for a fresher and lighter take. So good and simple enough to make for a dinner party ahead of time, re-heat to just warm and serve with a dollop of rich whipped cream or a plop of Greek yogurt (which is what Diana Henry suggests). However, you choose, these are wonderfully simple and perfect!
Perhaps I shall have the energy to make a tart another day ... and perhaps the raisins and pine nuts might work there also! Hmmm .....
Cider Roasted Pears with Sultanas and Pine Nuts
a recipe adapted from a Diana Henry original
Serves 3 hungry folk or 6 folks at the end of a big meal
1 pat of butter – about 1 tsp.3 just ripe
½ c. golden sultana raisins
⅔ c. hard cider
juice and zest from half a lemon
3 tbsp. water
3 – 4 tbsp. light brown sugar
a handful of pine nuts, toasted
- Preheat the oven to 350° F.
- Measure the cider into a small saucepan and add the sultanas. Bring the cider to a simmer and set it aside for fifteen minutes or so.
- Butter the bottom of a shallow baking dish and then break the remaining butter into little bits and distribute around the bottom of the dish.
- Lay the prepared pear halves in the dish, flesh side up.
- Use a slotted spoon to remove the sultanas from the cider and sprinkle them over top the pear halves.
- Add the lemon juice and water to the cider and stir things in.
- Sprinkle the brown sugar over top the pears and sultanas.
- Drizzle the cider mixture over top and all around the pears.
- Roast uncovered in pre-heated oven for 30 - 40 minutes.
- While the pears begin roasting, toast the pine nuts.
- Sprinkle the pine nuts over top the pears after the fruit has roasted for 15 minutes.
- Using a small teaspoon, bring some of the juices up from around the pears and drizzle/baste them, the raisins and nuts a couple times during the second half of the roasting time.
- When the pear skins begin to curl around the edges and the flesh is knife tender, remove the dish from the oven and let the pears cool a bit before serving.
- To serve, spoon some juice into the bottom of a shallow plate, place a pear half dead center, and spoon a dollop of sweetened whipped cream on the side.
Notes: Instead of whipped cream, a couple thin slices of
cheese might also
be nice with these pears. These pears
store beautifully over night, so they could be made ahead of time for a dinner
party and warmed gently before serving. Gouda