The other nice thing about the weather changing is that more and more fruit and vegetables are becoming available. The Winter options can be a bit limited but there is still some fruit I want to enjoy until it is out of season: pears.
As well as eating it every morning with breakfast, I added it to a few dessert recipes such as the crepes I made for la Chandeleur this year and more recently, roasted with honey and sprinkled with toasted hazelnuts on top of yogurt panna cotta.
The only way I usually cook pear is poached or stewed then pureed. I have used this for a variety of recipes but I had never thought about roasting pears in the oven. After having done so for this recipe, this is definitely something I will do more often. The smell of pears baking in the oven with butter and honey traveled throughout our home and was so wonderful I wish I could have encapsulated it in a bottle.
It was followed by the nutty scent of hazelnuts toasting in the frying pan while the pear were cooling down a bit. Just a few minutes of more olfactory delights before being able to dig into a delicious dessert.
Each serving of yogurt panna cotta is topped with half a buttery honey roasted pear, sprinkled with toasted hazelnuts and drizzled with a little bit more honey. Et voilà, you have a delightful dessert to make use of your delicious pears while they are still in season.
What are your favourite desserts to make with pears?
Do you also use them in savoury dishes?
Ingredients (serve 4 people)
For the yogurt panna cotta
2 gelatin sheets* (3g)
100ml full fat milk
60g caster sugar
1 vanilla bean (cut in half lengthwise)
200g Greek yogurt
For the roasted pears
10g unsalted butter
2 teaspoons honey
1 handful of hazelnuts (roughly chopped)
1. Put the gelatin sheets in a bowl of cold water to soak until softened.
2. Put the milk, cream, sugar, and cut vanilla bean in a saucepan over a medium heat, Bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar. When it is simmering, remove the pan from the heat and discard the vanilla bean. Drain the gelatin well and whisk it in until dissolved. Set aside.
3. Pour the Greek yogurt in a large bowl and stir it a bit. Whisk in the cream and vanilla mixture and stir vigorously until it is smooth and well combined. Divide the mixture between 4 ramekins. Let it cool down completely, cover and put in the fridge to set for at least 5 hours (overnight is even better).
4. When the yogurt panna cotta is set, preheat the oven to 170ºC (150ºC fan). Line a tray with baking parchment. Half the pears lengthwise and scoop the core out with a teaspoon. Place them on the baking tray cut sides up (you can cut a small sliver underneath so the pears sit flat ). Divide the butter between the 4 halves and put it in the centre of each. Drizzle with the honey and put on the middle shelf of the oven to bake for up to 30 minutes or until tender (depending on the ripeness and variety of pears you choose, the cooking time could be less or more so make sure to keep an eye on them). Take the tray out of the oven and leave the pears to cool down a bit before serving.
5. In the meantime, put the hazelnuts in a small frying pan over medium to high heat. Cook and stir frequently until they smell nutty and start browning lightly. Take off the heat and transfer into a small bowl (or they will continue toasting in the pan).
To serve, run a thin knife blade around the inside of the ramekins and delicately turn the panna cotta onto individual dessert plates. Place half a roasted pear on each, sprinkle with toasted hazelnuts and drizzle a little bit of honey on top. Et voilà, dessert is ready!
*Make sure to substitute with an ingredient you are familiar with (agar agar for example if you know how to convert it and include it at a different stage of the recipe) for a vegetarian version.