This recipe transforms the humble pear into a delicious and pretty dessert. It’s also quick, simple, and healthful.
The grocery store had a mountain of beautiful ripe pears on display and I was inspired to figure out how to turn them into a great dessert. I wanted something different that really featured the taste of the pears, since they smelled so delicious. I found a great recipe on Cook’s Illustrated, which I’ve modified a bit.
I think you’ll enjoy this as much as my guests and I did.
- 2 1/2 Tablespoons unsalted butter or ghee for dairy free (see note)
- 4 ripe but firm pears (Bosc and Bartlett work well) halved and cored (no need to peel)
- 1 (2-inch) piece ginger, sliced into 1/2-inch thick rounds, plus 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger (no need to peel the ginger)
- 1 1/4 cups dry white wine
- 1/2 cup currants
- 1/4 cup honey, xylitol or erythritol
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted, skinned and roughly chopped (see note for skinning hazelnuts)
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat to 450°. Melt 1 1/2 Tablespoons butter or ghee in an oven safe 12-inch skillet (no plastic handles) over medium-high heat. Place pear halves, cut side down, and ginger slices in skillet. Cook, without moving them, until pears are just beginning to brown, 3 to 5 minutes.
- Transfer skillet to oven and roast pears for 15 minutes. Carefully flip pears (I find that a little spatula and a soup spoon to help guide it work best) and continue to roast until fork easily pierces the pears 10 to 15 minutes longer.
- Remove pan from oven and transfer pears to platter. Discard ginger slices.
- Remember - the skillet handle is hot...don't touch it! Put skillet on stovetop on medium-high heat and add wine, currants, sweetener and remaining 1 tablespoon butter or ghee. Bring to a vigorous simmer, whisking to scrape up any browned bits. Cook until sauce is reduced and has the consistency of maple syrup. Stir in the lemon juice.
- Pour sauce over pears, sprinkle with chopped hazelnuts, and serve.
- Pears and sauce may be made a few hours ahead of time. Wait to put sauce and nuts on pears. Pears may be served at room temperature. Gently heat the sauce on the stovetop and add sauce and nuts to pears just before serving.
- Ghee: Ghee is clarified butter, meaning that the protein and sugars have been removed. So even though ghee is a dairy product, people with dairy intolerance can generally eat it because it does not contain casein (a type of milk protein) and lactose (milk sugar) which some people find difficult to digest. It can be bought in jars. I prefer the taste of homemade. It's easy to do and I'm planning on explaining how in a future post.
- How to skin hazelnuts: Toast in the oven or toaster oven, turning and making sure they don't burn. Let cool and then rub skin off in batches with your fingers. Some of the skin will stick on. That's fine.