Salt-Baked Pears with Streusel Topping (GF)

Salt intensifies the sweetness and peariness.

2 lrg fresh pears (1 half/person is a nice serving size)
coarse sea salt, as needed
Poire Williams eau de vie or pear liqueur (optional)

Pre-heat oven to 350ºF.

Line a small cake pan (something with tall sides) with aluminium foil. Spread enough salt to cover the surface of the pan, about half an inch deep.

Cut the pears in half lengthwise and place skin-side down into the pan, pressing down lightly so the salt forms a bed around it. Drizzle the cut sides of the pears with a small amount of spirit if desired. Bake for about 30 minutes, until tender. (A paring knife should just slide through easily, but the pears should still be holding their shape.)

Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly. They can be re-warmed in a 325ºF oven just before serving if needed.

Serve warm, with a scoop of Little Bear French vanilla gelato in the hollowed-out part, garnish with a tart fruit sauce such as our Citrus and Ginger Cranberry Sauce, or the North 49 Haskap topping and have with a small glass of Poire Williams.

If you prefer a more savoury dessert, serve with a wedge of room-temperature Camembert.

Streusel Topping
For a bit of crunch, garnish with a quick streusel topping. Here’s one adapted from the King Arthur Flour cookbook. It can be made ahead.

50 g flour
50 g brown sugar
25 g rolled oats
25 g chopped hazelnuts
pinch of salt (add salt to your desired taste—remember the pears will be well seasoned!)
hefty pinch cinnamon (1/8 t)
pinch fresh orange zest
50 g unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 325ºF. Combine dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Work the butter in with your hands until the texture resembles small crumbs. Spread this on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake at 325ºF until golden (about 10-15 minutes) stirring every 5 minutes.

Transfer to a room-temperature tray to cool down so it doesn’t keep cooking on the hot baking sheet.

Serve at room temperature. Extra streusel can be frozen and sprinkled on ice cream or yogurt.