Thanks to Deanie for showing me how to make this fabulous dessert!
Need a perfect winter dessert? Not only do these pears melt in your mouth, they make your kitchen smell like heaven.
Need more convincing? They are quick to prepare and can be simmering away while you’re chowing down in the dining room. Cinnamon, cloves, and allspice . . . wafting through the kitchen . . . smells like Christmas!
Pears are the often-forgotten dessert fruit. At this time of year, they tend to be overshadowed by their more popular rivals–apples. They’re really versatile, however, and will take on the flavour of whatever you’ve chosen to cook them with. I used Seckel pears, the smallest, sweetest winter pears. Adding the Gran Marnier intensifies their sweetness too, and puts this dessert over the top.
- 8 Seckel pears or 4 Anjou pears
- 125 ml (1/2 cup) frozen orange juice concentrate mixed with 1/3 – 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup (or more) orange liqueur, (Gran Marnier or Cointreau)
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 3 cinnamon sticks, broken
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp. whole cloves
- 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
- 1/2 – 1 tsp. whole allspice
- 4 star anise buds
- zest of one organic orange
- 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
- 1 Tbsp. pure organic maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Peel pears and carefully remove the core using a melon baller or a tiny teaspoon. Slice off a tiny bit of the bottom so they will stand upright. Arrange in a deep baking dish with a lid.
2. Drizzle the orange juice concentrate and the liqueur over top, sprinkle with the sugar and ground spices and toss in the broken cinnamon sticks, the whole cloves, allspice and star anise.
3. Cover and bake in the preheated oven for about 45 minutes, basting every 15 minutes or so, until pears are tender when pricked with a fork. Remove the lid and bake for an additional 15 minutes to reduce and thicken the sauce.
4. Meanwhile, mix together the mascarpone cheese and maple syrup. Finely grate about 1 tsp. orange zest.
5. Arrange in serving dishes, drizzle the sauce over, add additional liqueur (optional, of course, but particularly good), top with the mascarpone mixture and garnish with a little orange zest. Wow.