Roasted Pears with Honey, Bay and Greek Yogurt
Fresh bay leaves contain unique hints of pine and white pepper. In this recipe, they lend their intriguing aroma, usually reserved for savory dishes, to a simple dessert of honeyed pears flavored with almond-scented amaretto, toasty nuts and tart Greek-style yogurt.
- 1/3 cup sliced almonds
- 3 firm Bosc pears
- 1/3 cup honey
- 4 fresh bay leaves
- 3 Tbs. unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces
- 2 Tbs. amaretto
- 1 1/2 cups Greek-style plain yogurt
Preheat an oven to 375°F.
Place the almonds on a rimmed baking sheet and toast in the oven until fragrant and lightly browned, 5 to 6 minutes. Pour onto a plate and let cool. Leave the oven on.
Halve the pears lengthwise. Cut out the fibrous sections connecting the stems to the cores, then trim off the stems. Using a melon baler, scoop out the cores.
In a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, combine the honey and bay leaves and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the honey is fragrant and turns a rich amber color, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Place the butter pieces in the pot, spacing them evenly. Using tongs, carefully place a pear half, cut side down, on top of each piece of butter. Cover the pot, transfer to the oven and roast the pears for 10 minutes. Using a long-handled spoon, gently turn the pears over and baste with the honey mixture. Drizzle the pears with the amaretto and continue to roast, uncovered, until they are golden brown and a paring knife slips easily into the centers, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove the pot from the oven and let the pears cool slightly in the honey mixture, about 30 minutes.
In a bowl, whisk the yogurt until smooth. To serve, place each pear half in a bowl, dollop with the yogurt and sprinkle with the almonds, dividing evenly. Drizzle with some of the honey mixture from the pot and serve immediately. Serves 6.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma New Flavors for Desserts, by Raquel Pelzel (Oxmoor House, 2008).