Friday, February 8, 2013

Hazelnut-Stuffed Pears with Maple Glaze

Like you, I've got lots of stacks of recipes to try and hundreds of online bookmarks of pastries and desserts that I keep meaning to move to the line-up for more careful consideration.  This is one of the "someday I must try this" recipes that I'm really happy to pass along because it's an amazing fruit composition that has all the elements of a perfect winter dessert.

My go-to fresh fruits this time of the year are apples, pears and citrus.  Today's very sumptuous dessert recipe features roasted pears with a terrific sauce.  I'd say it's definitely one for your recipe files to use whenever you have some fresh pears and about 10 - 15 minutes to get the whole thing together.

The pears are peeled, cored and stuffed with a brown sugar and hazelnut mixture fortified with just a little nip of booze and butter.  Some apple juice is added to the roasting pan and maple syrup is drizzled on top of the stuffed pears.  As they bake to peak perfection, the butter and brown sugar melt and intermingle with the apple juice, maple syrup and Frangelico and transform into a swoon-worthy caramel.  This makes for a super delicious baste for the pears and a luscious sauce when served.

I love the hazelnut vibe in this recipe but if you're not a fan of hazelnuts, substitute almonds or pecans and use Amaretto, brandy or rum.  In this instance, I think you must serve the pears with vanilla ice cream for an extra moment of sublime luxury, any given day of the week.  And really - I must honestly say, I hope you survive all this crazy goodness.

Bench notes:
- I used D'Anjou pears.
- I added a pinch of cinnamon and salt to the filling, which I think made a really wonderful difference.
- My pears were fairly ripe and baked in half the time, 20 minutes.  So depending on your fruit, I would advise to test for doneness as you baste.
- I served this dessert with some Goat Cheese Ice Cream from Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home by Jeni Britton Bauer, which was hideously magnificent.
- The roasted pears would also be good to serve alongside a cheese plate.

Hazelnut-Stuffed Pears with Maple Glaze
adapted from Bon Appetit
Makes 6 servings

1/3 C hazelnuts, toasted and husked
1/3 C golden brown sugar, packed [I used dark brown]
2 t flour
pinch cinnamon [my addition]
pinch salt [my addition]
3/4 oz (1 1/2 T) butter @ room temperature
2 t Frangelico

3 D'Anjou or Bosc pears
1/4 C + 2 T unsweetened apple juice
1/4 C + 2 T pure grade B maple syrup

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Coarsely chop nuts into bite-sized pieces.  Place in a bowl with the brown sugar and flour and toss.  Add a good pinch of cinnamon and a light sprinkle of salt, if using.  Break the butter into small pieces and work it in with your fingers until roughly combined along with the liqueur.

Peel, halve and core each pear, making a nice well for the stuffing.  Arrange them cut side up in a 11" x 7" glass baking dish.  Mound the nut mixture into each of the pear cavities, pressing to compact the filling.  Pour the apple juice into the dish.  Drizzle each pear with 1 tablespoon of maple syrup.

Roast the pears until tender, about 45 minutes, basting occasionally with the juices.  Pears should give easily when pierced with a sharp knife.  Transfer pears to plates and drizzle with the juices.  Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.


Kate said...

What a perfect treat. Your goat cheese ice cream description of "hideously magnificent" was a LOL moment.
Great fresh fruit dessert for a mid-winter evening.
Do you find the best way to "skin" hazelnuts is to rub them in a dry dish towel once they are toasted or to boil them with a bit of baking soda and then roast them?
I have tried both methods and find that toasted hazelnuts are the bomb but getting there is tedious.

pastry studio said...

Hi, Kate! I just toast hazelnuts in a single layer in a 350 degree oven for about 10 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned and the skins look cracked. Remove from the oven and wrap the hazelnuts in a kitchen towel to steam for 1 minute. Then rub them together to loosen and remove as much of the skin as possible. I never get all the skins off completely but it doesn't affect the outcome.

Hope that helps! And I know you must have had a "hideously magnificent" experience!!

Luv'n Spoonfuls said...

I simply ADORE fruit desserts, and I don't think I will survive all the deliciousness here! ;-) Can't wait to pick up some pear this weekend and give this a try...your pictures are so good, I can almost taste the yumminess!

pastry studio said...

Luv'n Spoonfuls, I'm excited to have motivated you to try this dessert and hope you enjoy as much as I did. I love pears and hazelnuts and it all comes together very easily. The ice cream makes it swoon-worthy!


VelezDelights said...

This looks great! It's definitely becoming a part of my future To-Do list! :)