Crouching Pears, Hidden Plums (SHF #23)

A secret lurks beneath this pear, tucked away in it’s belly, waiting for the first fork stroke. I just can’t resist the lure of combining pears and plums, two fruits that now, I am finally (and sadly) starting to run low on. But if you think that this recipe sounds too much like the Baked Pears & Plums a few posts ago, think again. While the two dishes share the same creamy-tart combination, the attitude of these Roasted Pears poached in wine is completely different. These are elegant pears, jeweled in a plum syrup bath, slow-cooked to create such an amazingly smooth and intense flavor it’s hard to imagine eating pears any other way.

This simple, warm recipe comes from the small but thoughtful section on pears in the Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market cookbook. Although my pear tree season seems to end in September, pears are seasonally a winter fruit, and this recipe is quite perfect for a cool, crisp fall or winter evening. The original recipe calls for Bosc pears, Meyer lemons and vanilla beans (and the pears aren’t actually stuffed). I took a more seasonal approach stuffing the hollow left after coring with Italian Prune plums and dried orange zest, and seasoned the sauce with simple lemon juice and cinnamon. As the pears cook, the plum juice mixes with the lemon, cinnamon and dry white wine to create an amazing syrup.

Serving these pears is easily gorgeous… the vertical presentation is striking, and spooning some of the rich sauce around the base is both beautiful and tasty.
And, as timing would have it, these also end up being my entry for September’s Sugar High Friday! Somehow the original announcement missed my attention, and I just stumbled on the post yesterday. With theme being Surprise, these pears nicely fit the bill. Thanks to Alanna of A Veggie Venture for hosting such a great theme!

Plum-Stuffed Roasted Pears

(adapted from The Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market Cookbook)

Ingredients Per Pear

1 Pear, ripe but not over ripe
2 Italian prune plums
2 T lemon juice
1 T sugar
1/2 T unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1 t orange zest (fresh or dried)
1 stick of cinnamon
1/2 dry white wine

Preheat oven to 375F.

Chop the plums and discard the stones. In a small bowl, combine with 1/2 of the orange zest. Cover and set aside.

Peel the pears, leave the stems intact, and slice about 1/8 inch off of the bottom. With a spoon or melon baller, scoop out the seedy core center. Rub with a bit of lemon juice. Stuff the chopped plums into the hole you just created, packing tightly.

Stand the pears upright in an oven proof baking dish with at least 1 inch sides. If cooking more than one pear, fit them fairly snugly. Sprinkle the sugar and remaining orange zest over the pears, letting some fall into the bottom of the pan. Add the butter, wine and remaining lemon juice to the pan. Break the cinnamon stick into smaller pieces, and add to the bottom of the pan.

Place the pan in the oven and cook for 15 minutes. Baste the pears. Repeat for another hour, basting every 15 to 20 minutes. If the bottom of the pan starts to dry, add more wine.

Remove the pears from the oven, and using a slotted spoon to lift the pears from the dish without losing the plums. Place the pear on individual serving dishes. Spoon the remaining sauce over the pear, letting it pool around the base of the pear.

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