We love cooking with bourbon – it has a smoky-sweet quality that blends so well with other flavors, particularly the butterscotch notes in this easy-to-make dessert. We chose to use Forelle pears, a beautiful, small pear with a lovely shape and great flavor. Find them if you can, but don’t hesitate to use another variety.
- 1 lb fresh pears, peeled and halved lengthwise
- 1-1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 4 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup bourbon
- Preheat the oven to 325°F and butter a baking dish large enough to hold the pear halves in a single layer.
- Using a melon baller or small spoon, scoop the core and seeds from the pears, drizzle them with lemon juice and arrange them in the prepared baking dish.
- In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the brown sugar and vanilla, stir to combine, then cook until syrupy, stirring occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes. Watch carefully - this mixture can burn easily.
- Gradually whisk in the bourbon and cook just until blended and smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Spoon the mixture over the pears, allowing it to pool in the centers where you removed the cores.
- Bake, uncovered for 45 to 50 minutes, until the pears are tender when pierced with the tip of a knife. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.
About the pears:
Try to choose pears for this dish that are ripe, but still firm. The Forelles that we used are a small variety of pear with a naturally sweet flavor and somewhat firmer texture. They hold their shape well for baking and would probably make a great choice for poaching as well. The small size makes for a reasonably sized dessert portion too - particularly if you are going to serve it along with ice cream.