Maple-Roasted Pears with Passion Fruit and/or Fresh Raspberry Sauce

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Yield:

    6

    servings

Appears in

Fresh autumn-fruit desserts—from sumptuous apple cakes to svelte compotes—are traditional on Sukkot. For me, a light fruit dessert that is festive and satisfying without being rich makes a wonderfully renewing finale to the multi-course meal.

In this recipe I roast maple-glazed pears to give them a buttery depth and luxurious mouth feel with no added fat. More, perhaps, than any other fruit, passion fruit—evoking puckery citrus, berries, and lush tropical fruits with unknown names—tastes of faraway places. I like to add a few spoonfuls of the exotically perfumed juice to dress up the homey pears. If you cannot find passion fruit, set the pears on a garnet ribbon of fresh tart raspberry sauce.

Or do what I do—serve both.

Ingredients

  • Avocado, canola, or other flavorless oil, for filming the pan
  • 3 large, firm-ripe Bosc pears (about pounds), peeled, halved, and cored
  • cup pure maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 ripe passion fruits (2½–3 ounces) (see Cook’s Note) and/or 1 cup (about 6 ounces) fresh raspberries plus ¼ cup fresh orange juice and 3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 500°F.
  2. Very lightly film a 10- to 12-inch heavy, ovenproof skillet with oil and set it over medium-high heat until the oil is hot and shimmery but not smoking. Add the pears, cored side down, and cook for 2–3 minutes. Lift the pears with a spatula: The bottoms should be speckled or rimmed light bronze. (If not, cook for another minute or two.)
  3. Turn the pears, then transfer the pan to the oven. Roast the pears, turning them 2 or 3 times (with a spatula, not tongs), for 7–8 minutes, until both sides are deeply bronzed in places, and they are beginning to caramelize. Stir together the maple syrup, vanilla, and teaspoon salt and spoon half of the mixture over the pears. Continue roasting for 2–3 minutes longer, then turn the pears and coat the other side with the remaining syrup. Roast for another 2–3 minutes, or until both sides are a rich butterscotch color, caramelized, and tender enough to pierce easily with a thin knife or skewer.
  4. Transfer the pears with a slotted spoon to a glass or enamel pie plate or baking dish just large enough to hold them in a single layer. Add the lemon juice and remaining teaspoon salt to the syrupy juices in the pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for a minute or two, to marry the ingredients. Spoon the mixture evenly over the pears.
  5. If you are using the passion fruits: Set a small sieve over a bowl and cut the fruit in half. Working over the bowl to catch any drips of the precious juice, scrape all the yellow-green pulp and the seeds into the sieve. Rub the fruit through the sieve with the back of a spoon or a fork to extract every bit of the juice. Spoon the juice over the caramelized pears, tossing them gently so they are evenly coated. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight to mingle the flavors.

    If you are using the raspberries: Put them in a blender or food processor with the orange juice and brown sugar and puree until smooth. Strain the puree through a fine sieve to remove the seeds and store, covered, in the refrigerator until serving time. (It will keep for up to 3 days, refrigerated.)

  6. To serve: If you prepared the raspberry sauce, spoon it in an attractive ribbon across each of six dessert plates. Arrange a pear half over the ribbon (or in the center of the plate if you did not make the sauce), and spoon some of the syrupy juices over the pears.

Loading
Loading
Loading