For the roasted pears:
3 large firm pears, peeled*, quartered and cored
2 T. butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 c. good quality honey
2 large sprigs of rosemary, cut in half
1 cinnamon stick
Strips of lemon zest from 1/2 lemon
For the whipped crème fraîche:
1 6-oz. container of crème fraîche
1 t. honey
Good quality aged balsamic vinegar, for drizzling
Prepare the roasted pears:
Preheat oven to 450°. Place the pears in a baking dish at least 8 x 8-inch in size. Add the rest of the ingredients and roast in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes until the pears are just tender and caramelized, basting occasionally with the honey juices. Remove from the oven and serve warm with the whipped crème fraîche.
Prepare the whipped crème fraîche:
Beat the crème fraîche and honey together with a mixer until fluffy and a soft whipped texture. Do not over-whip. Refrigerate until needed.
Place two pear quarters on each plate, spoon a dollop of the whipped crème fraîche on top and drizzle with the extra honey syrup from the roasting dish and balsamic vinegar.
* If you enjoy the pear skins, feel free to leave them on, as they take on a beautiful deep-amber glaze when roasted.
-3/4 c. milk
-3/4 t. fresh lavender buds, or 1/4 teaspoon dried, rinsed
-2 lg. egg yolks
-2 T. honey
-1 t. cornstarch
-1/2 t. vanilla extract
Fruit & topping
-4 med. plums, pitted and cut into eighths
-2 T. sugar
Custard: Heat milk in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat until steaming. Remove from heat. Add lavender, cover and let steep for 30 minutes. Strain milk through a fine sieve into a medium bowl. Return the milk to the saucepan and reheat until steaming.
Whisk egg yolks, honey and cornstarch in a medium bowl until smooth. Gradually add the hot milk, whisking until blended. Return the mixture to the saucepan. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened and starting to bubble gently, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a clean bowl. Whisk in vanilla. Cover loosely and refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour.
Fruit topping: Preheat broiler. Coat an 11-by-7-inch oval gratin dish or 4 individual gratin dishes with cooking spray. Spoon custard evenly into the dish or dishes. Arrange plums on their sides, slightly over- lapping, in a single layer over custard. Sprinkle sugar evenly over plums. Broil until plums are lightly caramelized, 5 to 7 minutes.
Serve immediately. Enjoy!
Adapted from eatingwell.com, Summer 2003… Read the rest