I just got back from a wonderful weekend at Mixed. I was lucky enough to speak again this year, and I love this event so much. The perfect size, wonderful hosts, the coziest inn, great people, generous sponsors, and lots of learning. I had a fireplace in my room and spent some time in front of it reading. This year we were even lucky enough wake up to a dusting of snow. When I got into my car this morning to come home, it was 14 degrees. I loved being able to wear hats, scarves, and boots. As always, once I got into the car I could not wait to get home to my babies.
I made these roasted pears a few days ago and I absolutely love them. I had a really hard time taking these pictures because all I wanted to do was dive into this plate. This is the kind of food that I really want to eat. Simple, wholesome, fresh, savory, sweet, and delicious. I adore the combination of sweet and savory. One of my favorite ways to achieve this is by combining herbs and desserts. (Thanks Sargento for asking me to dive even further into this trend.) Adding thyme to these roasted pears adds a layer of earthiness and makes them perfect for breakfast or dessert. I made a simple maple ricotta cream to serve on these. We hit all of the happy spots – sweet, savory, crunchy, creamy, crisp, tart. These pears might make an appearance at Thanksgiving breakfast. Something light and beautiful before the big show.
1 Tablespoon butter, room temperature
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 vanilla bean
Zest of one orange
Juice of one orange
1 Tablespoon Grand Marnier (optional)
4 sprigs of fresh thyme
4 firm pears
Spread butter in the bottom of a 9×13 pan. In a small bowl mix together brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, and orange zest. Slice the vanilla bean in half and scrape out the seeds. Add them to the bowl and reserve the pod. Squeeze the juice of the orange into the bowl. Add a good splash of Grand Marnier. Mix until combined. Pour the liquid into the bottom of the pan.
Slice the pears in half. Use a melon baller and take out the core. Rub the pear halves with lemon. Add them to the pan, slice slide up. Add the vanilla pod and thyme sprigs. Roast in a 350 degree oven for 20 to 30 minutes. Baste them with the cooking liquid every few minutes. I like my pears to still be pretty firm. Let them cool. At this point, you can cover and chill them for up to one day.
To make the ricotta cream, mix together ricotta, maple syrup, and cinnamon. Top the pears with ricotta cream, toasted almonds, and more thyme.
**This post is a part of my ongoing collaboration with Sargento Cheese. All opinions are 100% my own.**
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