This became an instant favorite when I made it the first time. It can be done very simply if you use pre-made ingredients, but require a little more work if you want to do everything from scratch. Nothing about it is difficult, though!
3-5 Pears (depending on size)
2 tbsp Brown sugar
2 tbsp Butter (unsalted)
2 tbsp Almond paste*
¼ tsp Cardamom seeds (crushed)
1/8 tsp Anise seeds (crushed)
1/8 tsp Cinnamon
¼ cup Sliced almonds
1 ½ oz. Brandy
Mix the sugar, butter, almond paste, and a little more than 1 oz. brandy in a bowl. Add the anise and cinnamon after crushing them with pestle and mortar or other method.
Cut the pears in half length-wise and scoop out the center with a melon-baller or spoon. Cut a thin slice off the bottom to create a flat surface. Place the pears in a deep dish with the centers facing up.
Distribute the mixture to the center holes of the pears and sprinkle cinnamon on top. Last, add the sliced almonds on top of it all. Put a half tbsp of butter at the bottom of the dish.
Bake 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees.
Serve with almond infused whipped cream and a drizzle of caramel sauce.
*These items can easily be made at home (recipes below) or purchased pre-made.
Almond Paste Recipe:
4 oz. almonds
2 bitter almonds or 2 drops of bitter almond extract
3 oz. powdered sugar
1/2 egg white (optional)
Blanch the almonds by putting them in boiling water for about 1-2 minutes. Let them dry on a paper towel and then remove the skins.
Grind the almonds finely and mix with the other ingredients until you have a smooth paste and then roll it up in some wax paper. Store in the refrigerator.
Caramel Sauce Recipe:
1 cup Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Butter (unsalted, room temperature)
1/2 cup Heavy Cream
Splash of Brandy
Place the sugar in a thick-bottomed sauce pan
and heat over medium heat while stirring. When it starts becoming clear and amber-like in color, add the butter and stir until melted. Then add the cream and allow it to boil for 2 minutes. Add a splash of brandy and stir again. Let sit and cool for 10 minutes before serving.
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