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Grilled Pears with Raspberry-Grand Marnier Sauce

Fruits of all kinds can be successfully grilled, making dramatic and unusual desserts. Use firm fruit, as softer fruit can quickly turn mushy. Winter pears are excellent, as are peaches and nectarines. Pineapple slices and whole bananas can also be grilled, although take care not to overcook them. Ice cream, mascarpone and fruit sauce are all wonderful to serve alongside grilled fruit.

Ingredients:

For the sauce: 

  • 1 cup fresh or thawed frozen raspberries  
  • 1 tsp. honey 
  • 1 Tbs. Grand Marnier or other orange-flavored liqueur 
  •   
  • 4 Bosc, Anjou or other firm winter pears 
  • 1 lemon, halved crosswise 
  • 3/4 cup sugar 
  • 1 Tbs. ground cinnamon 
  • Vanilla ice cream for serving (optional) 

Directions:

Prepare a medium-hot fire in a grill. Oil the grill rack.

To make the sauce, in a bowl, combine the raspberries and honey. Mash the raspberries lightly with a fork and stir in the liqueur. Set aside.

Cut the pears in half lengthwise and remove the cores. Squeeze the lemon over the cut sides of the pears to prevent browning. In a shallow bowl, stir together the sugar and cinnamon. Dip the cut sides of the pears in the cinnamon sugar.

Grill the pears, cut side down, directly over medium-high heat until the fruit is grill-marked and the sugar is caramelized, 2 to 4 minutes. Do not allow the pears to char. Using a spatula, turn the pears over and grill until tender and heated through, 3 to 4 minutes. If the pears start to char, move them to a cooler part of the grill to cook.

Serve the pears topped with the raspberry sauce and with a scoop of vanilla ice cream alongside. Serves 4.

Serving Tip: Serve the grilled pears with a small glass of pear eau-de-vie, a clear fruit brandy. You could also use the eau-de-vie in the sauce in place of the orange liqueur, if you wish, and increase the honey to taste.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Collection Series, Grilling, by Denis Kelly (Simon & Schuster, 2002).