As so often happens, last time we were at my parents’ house there was a box of pears to deal with. I took what I thought was a modest assortment and hoped they wouldn’t all ripen at once. So far, so good – only two came ripe this week, although I did have to put them in the fridge until I was ready for them.
We had already made and eaten a pear custard pie not long ago, so this pair of pears was treated to our other usual preparation: poached in sugar water in the oven, then stuffed with a mixture of chopped pecans, sugar, brandy, vanilla and sour cream. Unbelievably, this recipe came out of a Betty Crocker cookbook, but it really is a winner: tender, sweet, hot pears with a rich crunchy filling – what’s not to like?
Pears with nut-sour cream filling
Adapted from Betty Crocker’s New International Cookbook. Serves two (amounts are estimated – I tend to just add things until it tastes right).
two pears, peeled, halved and cored
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup white sugar
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup pecans (or other nuts)
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp brandy
1/4 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp sour cream
Preheat the oven to 325°. Mix the water, sugar and lemon juice in a 9×9 inch roasting pan and put the pears in – turn them several time to coat them with the liquid. Bake for 25 minutes. Arrange the pears cut side up in two soup plates.
In a small bowl, combine the nuts, sugar, brandy, vanilla and sour cream. Spoon this mixture into the hollows of the pears. If desired (i.e. if you have a larger capacity for rich desserts than I do) you can mix more sugar and sour cream in a bowl and spoon it over the top. Serve.
I finally got hold of a bottle of Clear Creek pear brandy recently, so I decided to try a little nip with the baked pears. It actually didn’t go very well, because the flavor is so thoroughly pear that it just disappeared alongside the dessert. It was excellent sipped afterwards, though.