Baked Pears with Almond Sauce
Fall in Iowa does have benefits beyond gorgeous leaf colors. Fresh and locally grown pears are available and at peak flavor. We think a perfectly ripe Bartlett pear is dessert all on its own. Still, glamming it up is fun. Baking pears is so simple and brings out nuanced flavors. Bartlett pears are delicious when baked but fall apart rapidly. You may wish to use a different variety if plating appearance is important.
The great thing about the following recipe is its versatility. Any number of pears can be prepared as baked pears, refrigerate well, and can be served cold or reheated. Extra baked pears are great in cereal, sliced for adding to salads, or chopped for use in baked goods.
- 4 pears (or any amount you like)
- 1 Tablespoon butter (or amount needed to heavily butter pan)
- granulated sugar
- 3 squares of almond bark
- ½ pint heavy whipping cream at room temperature
- melted chocolate (optional)
- oven-toasted slivered almonds for garnishing (optional)
Chop or grate the almond bark and set aside. Peel and half pears. Remove cores. (I use a spoon.) Heavily butter a baking dish or a cast iron pan. Place pan in oven heated to 350. When the butter is hot, place the pear halves in the pan and sprinkle both sides lightly with granulated sugar. Return pan to oven for ten minutes. Turn pears and bake an additional ten minutes or as long as needed to soften the pears.
Remove the pears from the pan. Carefully add the room temperature cream to the pan. (Use extra caution if your pan is glass.) Stir to deglaze the caramelized sugar and pear juices. Add the almond bark. You may need to return the pan to the oven to melt the almond bark. Stir the sauce until the bark is incorporated. Serve warm or cooled.
For the pictured presentation, I spooned the cooled sauce over the pears and drizzled with melted chocolate before garnishing with toasted almonds.