Saturday, February 11, 2006

Baked Caramelized Pear (+ WCB 36)

There are two desserts of my youth I remember distinctly: baked caramelized fruit (pear or apple) and apple pie. The baked fruit was always my favorite. Overzealous trips to orchards in early fall would result in bins of apples stored in my family’s basement. As we got to the bottom of the bins, those sub par broken down apples became a sweet treat.

Unbeknownst to anyone else, my mother would rummage through the apples, plucking up bruised and downtrodden fruits. A sweet heavy haze of caramel would impregnate the house. Noses would turn skyward, tracking the smell like the expert scavengers my brothers and I were. Floating into the kitchen on the wings of our noses, we took our positions at the counter awaiting our prize.

Soon enough, my mother would pull the fruit from the oven. Sepia tinged, wilted from heat, and bubbling over the top, once perfect fruit was transformed into a superior delicacy. Forks injected prey and all was liked clean.

Baked caramelized fruit is one of the easiest desserts to prepare. Healthiness can be altered according to personal preference, altering the quantity of brown sugar used. With little effort and some quality oven time, one can turn past-prime fruit into a splendid dish to savor. With a scoop of vanilla ice cream this dessert is brilliant. At my local French restaurant a pear is soaked in red wine over night and called, “Poire Belle Helene.” At another restaurant, a banana is caramelized and served with a rich molten peanut butter cake (the same as the molten lava chocolate cake but with a peanut butter center). Here it is simple, quick and delicious. The wolves will be brought with trickery to the table, devouring their fruit in a gluttonous huff.

Serving Size= 2. Prep time= 5 minutes. Bake Time= 35-45 minutes.
* 2 overripe pears, washed and cored
* 2 Tbl brown sugar
* 2 Tbl raisins, dark or yellow
* 2 Tbl walnuts, chopped

1) Preheat oven to 375F. Prepare pears and set on a baking dish. Stuff each pear with ½ Tbl brown sugar, ½ Tbl raisins, ½ Tbl walnuts, layering, then the other ½ Tbl brown sugar, raisins and walnuts (each pear receives 1 Tbl of all ingredients). Place in center of oven and bake uncovered 35-45 minutes. Pears should be golden, slightly wilted and soft.
2) Serve on plates with a scoop of ice cream. Pour released juices over top.

And... Non-food related Weekend Cat Blogging #36
Devilish Whiskey has a talent for waking me up in the morning while he goes on blinds patrol:

His sister's great talent you ask? Sleeping, of course:

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