If you’re anything like me, you’re already daydreaming about the next holiday meal.
Especially desserts. Chocolate desserts.
Did you know that some chocolate desserts are much easier to make than they look? Sometimes, fancy desserts involve nothing more than a series of simple components combined together to great effect.
Take these chocolate-drizzled pears. They have a certain wow factor. But they are a snap to make, and all of the components can be prepared well in advance of any holiday event or dinner.
It starts with finding wonderfully firm-ripe pears. This is prime pear season, since the recent fall harvest is still ripening in storage.
The variety matters less than the flavor, The pear you choose for this dessert, should be scrumptious to eat out of hand. Aromatic, almost perfumed and juicy. Yet, it should be on the firm side, which means than when you press it with your thumb is does not yield.
These are the best specimens for baking and roasting. Roasting pears concentrates their flavors as it releases the juices. The fruit does not brown, but it softens, warms and becomes a better version of itself.
But, it must be said that a bland pear will not be rescued by roasting.
Once you have a gorgeous whole roasted pear–you core it in advance from the bottom, so it still looks like the whole fruit–there are many directions to take it.
For me, pear is one of the few fruits I enjoy with chocolate. So, I whipped up a simple chocolate ganache, or a chocolate sauce made by melting chocolate in hot cream and stirring in butter, vanilla and a pinch of salt. This article describes the general method, which is very flexible and forgiving, provided you melt the chocolate over gentle heat.
The scene stealer of this dessert, however, was neither the pear not the chocolate sauce but the simple yet intoxicating pistachio crumble for toppings. To be honest, I made it from a few pantry leftovers–crystallized ginger, pistachios and pepitas (pumpkin seeds) that I wanted to use up.
That combination provided the crunch plus another level of flavor for the pears + chocolate. It’s like a restaurant dessert, except that anyone with some good pears and the craving for very special holiday desserts can produce in no time.
I wish you the best of the holiday season and many excellent chocolate desserts.
Slow-Roasted Pears with Chocolate & Pistachio Crumble
Roasting pears concentrates their sweetness and softens the flesh so that you can eat it with a spoon. For a simple yet elegant holiday dessert, serve these pears drizzled with chocolate sauce and this tantalizing ginger, nut and seed crumble topping. You can also offer them with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, gelato or yogurt.
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon peeled and minced fresh ginger
- Pinch salt
- 4 small pears
- 1/2 cup chocolate sauce, for serving
- 1/2 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
- 1/4 cup finely chopped pistachios
- 1/4 cup finely chopped pepitas
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Melt the coconut oil in a 6-inch cast iron skillet. Add the honey, lemon juice, ginger and salt. Stir to blend.
Peel the pears. If they are large cut them in half and core them. For smaller pears, using a melon baller to scoop out the core, leaving them whole. Use a pastry brush to glaze each of the pears into the ginger syrup. Lay the pear halves cut side down and whole pears on their bottoms. Transfer the pears to the oven to roast.
After 20 minutes of roasting, use a pastry brush to coat the pears once again in the glaze. Continue roasting the pears until they are fork tender and lightly browned, 45-50 minutes total.
Meanwhile, combine the ginger, pistachios and pepitas in a small bowl until blended.
Serve the pears drizzled with the chocolate sauce and sprinkled with the nut crumble.