A good family friend is a health nut who also suffers from celiac disease, for which he follows a gluten-free diet. I created this dessert especially for him and it was simple, yet flavorful and memorable. I didn’t sprinkle the amaretti cookies on top of his pear, of course, but he didn’t seem to miss them as he licked his plate clean.

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Rum-Raisin Mascarpone

  • 8 ounces mascarpone cheese
  • ½ cup light rum
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • ½ cup tightly packed golden raisins, soaked in ¼ cup warm water for 30 minutes
  • 4 Bosc pears
  • ¼ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 4 amaretti cookies, crushed


Make the rum-raisin mascarpone: In a medium bowl, whisk the mascarpone cream gently to loosen it up. Whisk in the rum, granulated sugar, and lemon juice. Drain the raisins and stir into the cream.

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Halve the unpeeled pears lengthwise and use a melon-baller or teaspoon to scoop out the cores. Combine the brown sugar and butter in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat and stir until just melted. Add the lemon juice then place the pears in the skillet, cut side down. Baste the pears with the melted butter and sugar. Slide the skillet into the oven and roast the pears for 15 to 17 minutes until the pears are tender. Baste the pears once more and set aside to cool in their cooking liquid.

Serve the pears topped with a scoop of mascarpone cream and drizzle with the pan juices. Top with amaretti crumbs.