Pears are one of my most favourite fruits. I love them with ginger and lemon, or poached in spiced grape juice. And when baked in the oven they are surprisingly divine.
The weather has been rather cold this April, and so it felt nicer to serve something warm for breakfast. Because it was Monday morning, the only fruit we had left after the weekend was a row of pears happily sitting on the window-sill. Looking at them in the cool sunshine, I wondered if they would be nice baked? And could we serve them whole for oryoki without everyone being totally confused about how to eat them with a wooden spoon? We were a small group that morning, so it was worth the risk and am happy to say there were no reports of flying pears or sticky messes. And they were a doddle to make.
Don’t peel the pears, because the peel keeps the juice and flavour inside. You can then choose to either eat the peel or simply scrape the fruit out.
I didn’t use any sweetener this time, but am sure one could if you happen to have a sweet tooth.
60 g (about 8) dried apricots
40 g (¼ cup) roasted hazelnuts, or almonds
½ teaspoon mixed spice or cinnamon
6 fairly ripe medium conference pears
- Preheat the oven to 180 °C (350 °F).
- Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
- Roughly chop the apricots.
- Chop the hazelnuts quite fine, and combine together with the apricots and mixed spice. Alternatively put both the apricots and nuts together in a food processor, then whiz.
- Wash the pears.
- Insert an apple corer into the base of the pear until half way up, and remove the core by twisting the corer and pulling it back out. It should leave a nice clean, wide hole.
- Stuff the apricot and hazelnut mixture into hole in the bottom of each pear.
- Lie the pears on the baking sheet and bake for about 25 minutes, or until the pears feel soft. The riper the pears are, the quicker the baking time will be.
- Serve with vanilla custard or vanilla yogurt.