Good Morning from Washington, DC! It’s been a whirlwind of a week. I started out in Syracuse, New York, fled to Boston for a mini escape and now I’m in the capitol until heading home. The weather has finally begun to cooperate and it’s no longer unbearably hot which means all the cozy sweaters I packed can finally be put to use. It’s a wonderful feeling. I’m starting to write recipes for the holiday season (yes, that time is coming up) but today I have a fall recipe for you that is a little different from what I usually share. Baking isn’t really my strength so desserts are hard for me to come up with but this particular recipe is a dessert that anyone can whip up: Spiced Baked Pears with Chocolate Drizzle. What’s great is that they should be at your local farmers market in the prime of their season, delightfully juicy and ripe. It’s a great time to take advantage of the undervalued fruit.
Pears aren’t a widely popular ingredient. Come to think of it, I have rarely seen pears on menus or in recipes. One of the cookbooks I own has a delightful Pear Cake recipe and I’ve seen pears used in salads at restaurants but that seems to be the extent of their use. Only that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Pears have a lot of natural sugar which is hard to believe because they’re not very sweet but if you cook or bake them, the sweetness slowly develops. I actually prefer them baked compared to raw. They also retain a firm texture so unlike other fruits that would get mushy from baking, pears remain sturdy. This dessert is very simple and very easy to make. So if you’re like me and baking isn’t your specialty or something you prefer to do, this is a great recipe to impress company with.
First thing's first, bake the pears. Generously sprinkle the brown sugar and spices onto the pears. You want there to be a nice coating because the sugar melts into the pears and caramelizes. This is the first step to a delicious dessert. It’s all about layering the flavors. Ideally, it would take 25-30 minutes to bake the pears but if yours are a little extra firm like mine were you’ll want to bake them longer - closer to 45 minutes. Once the pears are done baking, let them cool a bit while you prepare the chocolate. You can use chocolate chips or baking squares found in the baking aisle. I used 65% cacao dark chocolate but semi-sweet or milk chocolate will also work if you’re not a fan of the darker varieties. I recommend it simply because the bitterness in the dark chocolate will contrast beautifully with the sweetness of the caramelized sugar and the fruit. Overall, this is a great fall dessert. The flavors are perfect for the season and the dessert couldn’t be easier to make.
Spiced Baked Pears with Dark Chocolate Drizzle
4 Pears, halved with the core scooped out
½ cup Brown Sugar
1 tsp. Cinnamon
½ tsp. Nutmeg
2 oz. Dark Chocolate
1 - Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the pears flesh side up. Mix together the brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Sprinkle evenly over the pears. Bake 25-30 minutes (longer if still ripe) until fork tender.
2 - Remove the pears from the oven. While they cool, prepare the chocolate. Place the chocolate in a small saucepan over the lowest heat setting your stove has. Stir constantly as the chocolate melts and remove from the heat when there’s just a little bit of hardened chocolate left. The saucepan will be hot enough to finish melting it and this will keep the chocolate from burning. Drizzle the chocolate over the top of the pears and serve.