The Fireplace and Baked Pears: Winter has Arrived

December 11, 2009 at 9:17 pm Leave a comment

Winter has arrived. It is cold. It snowed the other day, but rained the next, so we really have nothing to show for all this cold except runny noses and no will to go outside. It has been too windy to even light our fireplace, which was originally designed to burn coal, but burns wood quite well too. We just have to cut the wood extra small. However, our chimney doesn’t have a chimney pot so we get a down draft when it is really windy and it fills the living room with smoke. My husband, instead of working on the bathroom (14 days and counting, by-the-way), has been researching antique-look chimney pots. He really does need to win the lottery.

A warm spot to cozy up to on a winter night...

Fireplace aside, I decided to heat up the house in my own way… baking. Following a link on Smitten Kitchen, I made the original version of these baked pears, but I tweaked it to enhance the flavour (not that this recipe really needed it), and to give the house a warm, wintry, Christmas-is-coming smell. I happened to have cinnamon, star anise and cloves on hand so I added them to the pears while they baked. They imparted just enough flavour, and a delightful smell in the house that almost made me forget how cold I was. This simple recipe is truly a keeper.

Warm up the house by baking a batch of these gems.

Seasonal Baked Pears

  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ vanilla bean
  • 1 ½ pounds (roughly 6 medium-sized pears) slightly under ripe, peeled and halved
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 star anise
  • ½ cinnamon stick
  • 2 cloves

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place the sugar in a small bowl. With a thin, sharp knife, split the vanilla bean lengthwise in half and scrape out the seeds. Stir the seeds into the sugar and set aside.

Arrange the pears in a large baking dish, cut-side up. Drizzle the lemon juice evenly over the pears, then sprinkle with the vanilla sugar. Nestle the vanilla pod, cinnamon stick, cloves and star anise among the pears. Pour the water into the dish. Dot each pear with some butter.

Roast the pears 30 minutes brushing them occasionally with the pan juices. Turn the pears over and continue roasting, basting once or twice, until tender and caramelized, 25 to 30 minutes longer (if the pears are small, test for doneness after 35 or 40 minutes of cooking; a paring knife poked into the thickest part of one should meet with no resistance). Serve warm.

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Entry filed under: Projects, Recipes. Tags: , .

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