Archive for: pear
Pears are a wonderful fruit that can be difficult to bake with because they are so delicious on their own that you don’t always want to try them out in a recipe. But pears can also be wonderful when they are cooked, as their delicate flavor only gets more intense when the fruit spends some time in the oven. These Caramel-Roasted Pears are one of the simplest and most delicious desserts that you can make with fresh pears. The pears become sweeter and more tender in the oven, and the easy caramel sauce goes perfectly with them.
The pears are peeled and halved, then placed in a baking pan and sprinkled with sugar. The sugar and the natural juice from the pears combine to form a flavorful, light caramel while the pears are roasting. Cream is added towards the end of the cooking time to transform the caramel into a caramel sauce that can be served alongside of the pears. I like to eat them as-is, or serve them with scoops of vanilla ice cream. I also like to add a sprinkle of nuts – toasted pistachios, walnuts or pecans – to the pears before serving to add a little crunch. The recipe doesn’t require much sugar, but you shouldn’t skimp on it unless you want a sauce that is more cream than caramel at the end of the day. For a stronger caramel flavor, use brown sugar instead of regular sugar on top of the pears.
You don’t need pears that are perfectly ripe to make this recipe. In fact, pears that are still on the firm side will be a little bit easier to peel and work with, and will still get perfectly sweet and tender in the oven. I used Bartlett pears, but this recipe will work with Bosc, Comice and other types of pears, as well. The other terrific thing about this recipe is that it can be adapted to any serving size. If you only have one pear, you can make it by scaling back the caramel sauce slightly. If you need to serve a crowd, you can use a dozen pears in two big baking dishes to make a big batch without having to change the baking time.
Pears are one of my favorite fall/winter fruits. A perfectly ripe pear is juicy, sweet and just about irresistible (especially if you have some good cheese around to pair it with). Pears often get overlooked for baking purposes in favor of heartier fruits, like apples, because pears are quite delicate and don’t hold up to baking as well as some other fruits do. That doesn’t mean that you can’t use them, however, and if you worth with a little bit of care you can get some spectacular results when baking with pears.
This Chai-Spiced Pear Bread is a wonderfully spiced quick bread that is just as good for dessert as it is for breakfast or brunch. It has plenty of fresh pears in it, as well as some toasted pistachios that add a little crunch. The trick to using pears is that you want to work with fruit that is just barely ripe – not so tender that it starts to fall apart when you pick it up. A pear that is a little bit firm is easier to peel and slice, and won’t fall apart as your loaf bakes. I used comice pears, but any pear that you like can work in this bread. I recommend using fresh pears instead of canned or jarred pears because they will be firmer and a bit easier to work with.
The bread has a good balance of sweet and spice to it. I used a combination of cinnamon, cardamom, ginger and allspice here, which gives the bread a spicy chai tea flavor to it. The juicy pear really stands out and I cut my pears into large (1-inch) pieces to make sure they had an impact. The pistachios also work very well with the pears, and add just one more flavor element to this loaf, though walnuts would be a good choice too.
Pear and ginger is always a good combination, and these Ginger and Pear Oatmeal Muffins are no exception. The muffins have big chunks of tender pear in them and include both ground ginger and pieces of candied ginger to give them some spice! The muffins are made with buttermilk, brown sugar and plenty of oatmeal, which has a nice nutty flavor that compliments the fruit and spice well.
For this recipe, fresh pears that are ripe but still firm are ideal. You can peel them easily with a vegetable peeler, then cut them into large dice. Pears have such a delicate texture that if you cut them up too small, you’ll lose some of the wonderful flavor, so bigger pieces are the way to go even though they might make the muffin batter look a bit lumpy. I like the combination of ground ginger – for a mild spice – and candied ginger – for hints of more intense flavor – but if you are a big ginger-lover, you might want to try substituting the ground ginger for a teaspoon or two of freshly grated ginger to add some more drama to these.
You’ll notice that these muffins bake at a higher temperature than many muffins do. This helps to give the muffins a beautiful “crust” on top, and a nice texture. The muffins remain very moist, thanks to the large chunks of pear in them, so as long as you check them with a toothpick when they’re nearing the end of their baking time, you won’t have a problem with over-baking. Speaking of baking, these muffins smell fantastic while they’re in the oven. You can really smell the brown sugar as it starts to caramelize a little bit in the oven, and the ginger and oatmeal come through, as well. Fortunately, you only have to let the muffins cool for 20 minutes or so to let them firm up a bit before having one yourself.
Pears are a wonderful fruit to bake with because they become tender very quickly and get even sweeter when they spend some time in the oven. The problem with pears is that they’re so tasty on their own, it’s often difficult to sacrifice a whole bunch of pears into one dessert – no matter how delicious. One of the reasons that I like to make these little pear upside down cakes is that you only need one pear to bake a whole batch of cakes, but the finished product still packs a lot of pear flavor. The other reason is that pears and almonds are an excellent combination and these cakes are exceptionally tasty.
These Upside Down Pear and Almond Cakes are single-serving cakelets baked in a muffin pan. Thin slices of pear are placed in a mixture of butter and brown sugar that is at the bottom of the pan, and a light almond cake batter is poured on top. As the cake bakes, the sugar around the pears caramelizes and the fruit intensifies in flavor. The cakes are turned out of the pan after baking and you end up with a sweet, buttery pear layer on top of a very tender almond cake.
Although some pears are considered to be better for baking than others, these cakes have a short cooking time and that means that just about every type pear will work in this recipe. I used Comice pears, but Bosc and Bartlet are also good choices. Choose pears that are ripe but not so ripe that they’re soft and difficult to slice. I do not peel my pears because the fruit is sliced very thinly and the skins are not noticeable in the finished product, though you can peel your pears if you prefer.
If you flip these cakes out of the pan shortly after baking, you should not have too much of a problem with the cakes sticking. I prefer to use a muffin liner (even though it can be a touch more difficult to get those pears in place), where there is no chance of the pear pieces sticking to the pan. Muffin liners also mean that leftover cakes are easy to store and transport, in the event you want to turn these into a casual snack instead of a dinner party dessert.
Apples are a popular choice for crisps and cobblers, but pears are also an excellent fruit for making this type of dessert. Pears tend to be juicier and more tender than apples, especially once they’ve been baked. That means that when they’re put into a fruit dessert like a crisp, they bake up very quickly and produce a fruit filling that has a lot of moisture to contrast with a streusel topping.
These Individual Pear Crisps with Oatmeal Streusel are easy to make and even easier to eat. The filling is made with fresh pears, a little bit of sugar and just a touch of flour to help thicken all of the pear juices. The topping is made with flour, oatmeal and brown sugar. I prefer to use quick cooking oatmeal, which is made of regular rolled oats that have been coarsely chopped because I think that it gives the best texture. You will still get good results with regular rolled oats if that’s what you have in your pantry. The streusel topping turns golden brown in the oven and has a nice crunch to it. It is buttery, with just the right amount of sweetness, and has a lot of flavor in spite of its short ingredient list, and is an amazing flavor match for the tender, juicy pears.
As with most cobblers, the amount of fruit that you use is not critical and you can use a bit more or a bit less than I’ve suggested in the recipe (which is why I simply suggested the number of pears that you might want to use, rather than the weight). Sometimes I’ll stretch the streusel topping by using more pears and turning six servings into eight. Other times, I’ll just make four and save the remaining streusel in a baggie in the fridge for a few days for another batch.
These crisps are the best when they’re still slightly warm from the oven and served with vanilla ice cream. Leftovers also make a very good breakfast dish if they’re warmed in the microwave (they should be stored in the fridge, covered) and topped with a bit of milk or cream before serving.