I love fruit desserts because they generally do not require loads of sugar. I leave the pears to roast in pear nectar instead of using sugar. The reduction is silky and decadent, but not overly sweet. The pears make a perfect counterpoint for the sweet, rich sauce. I used Dorie Greenspan's Creme Anglaise recipe as a starting point and I've adapted it over time. I've flavored the creme with Earl Grey tea instead of Chai, and it has turned out beautifully as well. Make the creme 24 hours in advance for the optimum flavor. —Hilarybee
4 full pears or 8 halves
Large Pears (I've used bosc and comice, both worked great)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Using a vegetable peeler, remove the skin from the pears. Hold the stem, and then peel downward for the best results. Halve the pears and remove the seeds with a melon baller. Use a paring knife to remove the woody remnants leading to the stem. Arrange pears with the scooped side up in a large roasting dish.
Squeeze lemon juice over pears. Place the lemon half in the roasting dish and pour the pear nectar on top. Top each pear with a piece of butter.
Slice the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and place it on top of the pears.
Roast the pears for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, flip the pears over and baste them with the juices. Roast for another 10-15 minutes, until the pears are soft, but still hold their shape. Baste pears with the pan juices before serving.
Chai Spiced Creme Anglaise
Fill a large glass bowl with ice cubes. Place a smaller bowl on top for the finished creme. Place the tea, peppercorns, and cardamom in a cheese cloth. Combine the milk and cream in a small saucepan. Place the cheesecloth and cinnamon sticks in the milk mixture. Bring mixture to a full boil.
In a medium size saucepan, combine the egg yolks and sugar. Whisk until the sugar is evenly distributed.
Once the milk boils, turn the heat off and remove the cheesecloth and cinnamon sticks. Slowly add about 1/4 a cup of the milk to the egg yolks to temper the yolks. Whisk vigorously!
Slowly pour the rest of the milk into the yolks while whisking. Turn the heat back on to medium-low. Never stop whisking or the mixture will stick to the bottom of the pan. The mixture will start to thicken after about 2 minutes. Test the creme on the back of a wooden spoon with a finger. If the mixture is ready, it will cling to the spoon and won't run into the track.
Pour the mixture into the bowl. Refrigerate overnight in an airtight container. It will thicken and the flavors will blossom if you are patient enough to wait (I rarely am).
When ready to serve, spoon about 1/4 cup of the sauce onto a dessert plate or shallow bowl. Place one or two pear halves on top. Drizzle with the pear pan juices. Enjoy!
Dedicated locavore. I spend my weekends on the back roads (often lost!) looking for the best ingredients Ohio has to offer. I am often accompanied by my husband, Mr. Radar and our dog, Buddy. Born in West Virginia, raised in Michigan, I moved to Ohio for college and have lived there on and off since. I love to meet farmers and local producers. Cooking is an extension of this love.
You can follow my move from government analyst to cottage industrialist and view the food I cook for my personal mad scientist on thistleconfections.com