While working on my Vanilla-Ginger-Pear Shrub I became so enamored of this spicy-sweet flavor combination that I couldn't stop inventing ways to bring it to the table this season. Here the ginger and vanilla show up in a naturally sweetened, honey-based caramel for roasted pears, forming an effortlessly elegant dessert.
These roasted pears are fabulous by themselves, or you could serve them as an accompaniment to gingerbread, vanilla ice cream, or just about any kind of cream like crème fraîche, mascarpone, ricotta or whipped cream. For added texture, try a crumbled gingersnap or amaretti cookie, a sprinkle of roasted almonds, or a scattering of chopped candied ginger.
Not feeling like dessert? Slices of roasted pear would even be delicious on a cheese platter or atop crostini. And for breakfast, a cubed roasted pear is heavenly on yogurt or oatmeal.
Roasted Pears with Honey, Ginger and Vanilla
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 firm-ripe pears, any variety
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and scraped
Preheat the oven to 400°F with a rack in the middle. Butter the bottom of a large baking dish.
Mix the honey, lemon juice, ginger, vanilla pod and vanilla seeds in a large bowl. Halve and core the pears (and peel them if desired) and gently toss them in the honey mixture.
Arrange the pears cut-side down in the baking dish. Pour any remaining honey mixture over the pears and tuck the vanilla pod into the baking dish.
Roast the pears for 20 minutes, then gently turn them over and spoon some of the cooking syrup on top. Continue roasting, spooning the cooking syrup over the pears once or twice, until the pears are tender and golden, about 20 to 30 minutes.
Serve warm or at room temperature with the cooking syrup drizzled on top.