I’m always amazed by the way baking or otherwise cooking transforms apples and pears from fruit into sumptuous desserts. Now, I know that most recipes for baked pears add brown sugar or honey, but do me a favor and try making this recipe as is – no added sugar.
I think you’ll find that even underripe pears are plenty sweet enough, especially when baked, and there’s really no need for added sugar.
- 1 teaspoon soft butter for the baking dish
- 4 large pears (2 lb. total weight), firm (don’t use ripe pears for this)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ cup heavy whipping cream, cold
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9 X 13 baking dish with 1 teaspoon of butter.
- Peel the pears, halve and core. Leave the stems on - they make for a pretty presentation.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the butter, vanilla and cinnamon. Brush the pears with the butter mixture on both sides.
- Arrange the pears in the prepared baking dish, cut side down. Bake the pears 30 minutes on each side, or until fork-tender, basting them every 15 minutes with the pan juices.
- When the pears are ready, use an electric hand mixer to quickly whip the cream (should take 2 minutes). Brush the pears one last time with the pan juices and serve warm with a dollop of whipped cream. There's no need to sweeten the cream or the pears, by the way - the richness of the cream combines with the natural sweetness of the pears into an exquisite experience, no added sugar needed.