Baked Pears with Chocolate
Winter pears retain their firmness even when cooked. Baking concentrates the sugars and creates a light, sweet dessert that’s worthy of the best dining venue, yet simple enough for weeknight meals. Just pop the baking dish in the oven, with the prepared pears, and the baked pears will be ready when dinner is served.
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This recipe for baked pears serves 4, but it’s easy enough to double or triple it for more diners. Plan for 1 large pear to serve 2 people. This recipe was inspired by the recipe from French Country Cooking, Meals and Moments from a Village in the Vineyard by Mimi Thorisson (Baked pears recipe on pages 300 – 301)
2 firm ripe large winter pears, such as Comice, Anjou, Bosc, Seckle, Nelis, and Forelle.
1 tbsp. butter, melted
2 tsp. honeyh
1 tsp. chocolate mint extract
2 ounces dark chocolate, at least 70% cocoa, coarsely chopped
Slice pears in half lengthwise. Remove the core, leaving halves intact. Butter the inside of a shallow 8 x 8 baking pan. Place the pears skin side down, in the baking pan. Mix butter and honey together in a small dish. Pour the butter-honey mixture over the pears, allowing the mixture to pool in the hollow left by the removed core.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake the pears in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. Remove the pears from the oven. Drizzle the hot pears with chocolate-mint extract.
Melt chocolate in a double boiler until liquid.
Place one half pear on a serving plate. Drizzle the baked pears with melted chocolate just before serving. Repeat with the remaining 3 pear halves. Serve.
About French Country Cooking
Just talking about French cooking evokes the romantic ideal of rolling vineyards, rosemary bushes laden with bees, champagne, white cheese, and baguettes, laid out on an indigo and white checked picnic cloth. Mimi Thorisson captures the essence of this romantic vision of the French countryside in this her second book on French cuisine.
The book does for French regional cooking what similar books on Italian regional cooking did decades ago. The cookbook emphasizes fresh local food, and presents it in French culture so that the reader gains a feel for the cuisines of rural France.
Even more than a cookbook, though, this is a story book, about the house that embraces the Thorisson family, allowing them to participate in its history. The cover insets show a cross section of the house at No. 1 rue de Loudenne, with its mysterious rooms like the Red Dining Room, the Whiskey Room, the Big Harvest Room, The Green Dining Room, and La Cave. The house was formerly a restaurant. It is seasonally transformed into a pop-up restaurant by the present owners. This is part of the story of the house and the main thread that goes through the book.
The chapters are divided like most cookbooks by meal courses that move from afternoon cake and wine to aperitifs, appetizers, main course, sides, and desserts. The book is further divided into Sunday suppers, staff meals, and restaurant fare. While each main course has wine pairing suggestions as you’d expect in a book focused on French cuisine, there is also a chapter focused on the regional wines of the area, which includes information about the grape varieties and climate. This makes fascinating reading for the gardener as well as the cook.
The photography is exceptionally attractive with that old world mystery evoked in the play of light and shadows, and a liberal sprinkling of children throughout. The photos have a painterly feel that makes you think you are looking at a Still Life rather than a recipe photograph.
The book has a solid feel that makes it just as at home on the coffee table as on the cookbook shelf. The publisher includes an orange ribbon to help you keep your place or bookmark your favorite recipe. This cookbook is a stunning addition to your home cookbook library, and would make a lovely gift for the cooks in your life.
More pear recipes here.
Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this book from Blogging for Books. This review represents my honest opinion of the book. This post contains affiliate links.