It is summer in Australia now. The heat wave is here. It's 41°C yesterday, today, tomorrow and the day after tomorrow. I know it's winter and freezing cold across the universe now. Monthly Mingle for this month themed for Winter Vegetables & Fruits. Winter sound to me like I need to crank up the oven and braise something, stew and roast away!
I don't like vegetables really but I am okay with fruits. In fact, I am very sweet....Oh yeah, I have such soft spot for cooked sweet fruits. They just taste better when roasted or poached, their flavour deepened and mingled with any other flavourings you would use.
Nothing beats caramelizing fruits. Banana, apples or pears, so be it. Just cook it and I'll happily gulp it down. It's a comfort dessert in any household throughout winter. Well, at least for me. I reminisced my last winter food to be lots of lamb, stew dish and cooked fruits. I practically eat 24-7 and never seem to gain weight! I love winter!
I've decided to crank up the oven. I know you must be thinking I'm crazy. I still can't believe it myself now. But no regrets baby. The sweetest smelling thing ever evolved around the whole house and my kitchen would be lingering with roasted and caramelized pear for many days to come. Nahhh.....I'm exaggerating. The aroma would probably be gone by tonight.
I am weird sometimes. I sometimes like how my house smell when I have guest. I have once baked a batch of chocolate chip cookies not because I needed to fill up the cookie jar or because I feel like eating some. I just want the house to smell of chocolatey baked goodies when my guest arrive. I know I'm weird, feel free to criticism. It's just me. I love me.
I love myself so much that I roast pears and manage to force myself to stop finishing all of them. I pureed the remaining for other purpose. Other better purpose that would suit my summer now.
The recipe given by Sally Schneider is really a good guide. For beginners who never roast anything in their entire life before will find her recipe helpful, down to how many tablespoon of water or lemon juice to use, it's all stated. But really, this recipe is so forgiving because the lazy me did not measure anything and it came out perfect. You cannot screw simple things like roasting pears. I like how Sally introduced vanilla bean and lemon as flavourings for these pears.
It is not overly sweet, has a tangy aftertaste and a very deep, mellow pear fragrance to it. Everyone should roast something at least once in their entire life. Start off by trying these because rest assured, you cannot fail.
Roasted Pears with Vanilla Bean & Lemon
(loosely adapted from Sally Schneider, inspired by Smitten Kitchen)
4 Corella Pears, slightly-under-ripe, fragrant, medium pears, peeled if desired and halved though the stem
Sugar, say a tablespoon full per pear
Half a vanilla bean or whole if you're feeling generous but don't omit it, please
Juice of half a lemon
Preheat oven to 190°C. Place the sugar in a small bowl. With a thin, sharp knife, split the vanilla bean lengthwise in half and scrape out the seeds. Stir the seeds into the sugar and mix them up a bit.
Arrange the pears in a large baking dish, cut-side up. Drizzle the lemon juice evenly over the fruit, then sprinkle with the sugar. Nestle the vanilla pod among the fruit. Pour the water into the dish. Dot each pear with butter.
Roast the pears 30 minutes brushing them occasionally with the pan juices. Turn the pears over and continue roasting, basting once or twice, until tender and caramelized, 25 to 30 minutes longer (if the pears are small, test for doneness after 35 or 40 minutes of cooking; a paring knife poked into the thickest part of one should meet with no resistance).
Serve warm with skinny vanilla ice cream dolloped with creme fraiche. Or puree them for many other goodness suggested by Sally here.