vanilla roasted pears

I think this should be your new favorite way to show off. If your dinner parties are anything like mine, dessert arrives with more of a whimper than a bang. Oh yes, that trifle looks lovely, that cheesecake is most certainly the bomb, most people are probably thinking, but I just crawled out of a vat of deeply braised short ribs and I’m gasping for air. Doctor, gimme an apple, stat! I forgot what fresh food looks like.

pears aplenty
bosc peelings

Except, what was that you said about butter and sugar? Oohkay, sure, I’ll have a little bite. I mean, what’s a meal that doesn’t end with a sweet note? None that I want to be part of, to be honest. But when you want to unlock sweetness’s hold on richness, oh friends, please do this.

peeled, halved, cored, stems removed

pears, butter, lemon, vanilla, sugar

I spied this not even recipe, but dare I say, approach to pears last month in The Atlantic and I have eagerly awaited the magic moment of overlap between the Greenmarket’s pear loot, Jacob’s nap and the kind of overcast, stay-inside kind of day that makes you wish for a snowy backdrop. Six weeks later, I had one. Although I call this a dinner party dessert — it looks and tastes showy but is simple enough that it’s no extra drama for you to assemble last-minute — it will also make Monday afternoon lunch feel like you did something fancy. And I don’t know about you, but it may have just been the best part of my day.

vanilla roasted pears

Oh, okay, second best.


Pears, previously: In a Winter Fruit Salad, Pear Crisps with Vanilla Brown Butter, Pear and Almond Tart and a Bittersweet Chocolate and Pear Cake

One year ago: Carrot Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
Two years ago: Chocolate Pretzel Cookies
Three years ago: Chicken Skewers with Dukkah Crust, Pan-Brown Brussels Sprouts and Pecan Squares

Vanilla Roasted Pears
Adapted from Sally Schneider at The Atlantic

And how it tastes? Do I even need to tell you what happens when pear juices bubble with lemon, butter and vanilla bean-flecked sugar for an hour? Pear caramel is what happens. And how it smells? Good enough that the UPS guy stays too long.

Now, I consider this perfect right from the pan but the Schneider notes that it can be many, many things, from a sorbet to an accompaniment to a cheese plate to confit to serve with pork or ham. She’s probably right, but my batch will never last long enough to undergo a transformation.

Serves 4 or so

1/4 cup sugar
1/2 vanilla bean
1 1/2 pounds slightly-under-ripe, fragrant, medium pears, peeled if desired, halved though the stem and cored (I used Bosc but will be giving this recipe a spin with Bartlets later today; Schneider says all varieites work)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoon unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 375°F. Place the sugar in a small bowl. With a thin, sharp knife, split the vanilla bean lengthwise in half and scrape out the seeds. Stir the seeds into the sugar.

Arrange the pears in a large baking dish, cut-side up. Drizzle the lemon juice evenly over the fruit, then sprinkle with the sugar. Nestle the vanilla pod among the fruit (I first slit my halves lengthwise into quarters). Pour the water into the dish. Dot each pear with some butter.

Roast the pears 30 minutes brushing them occasionally with the pan juices. Turn the pears over and continue roasting, basting once or twice, until tender and caramelized, 25 to 30 minutes longer (if the pears are small, test for doneness after 35 or 40 minutes of cooking; a paring knife poked into the thickest part of one should meet with no resistance).

Serve warm, spooned with the caramelized pear drippings from the pan over ice cream, dolloped with crème fraîche, on your morning oatmeal, over slices of gingerbread or so so much more.

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322 comments on vanilla roasted pears

  1. Emily

    Oh that looks yummy. I do a similar thing sometimes, but cook it in cider (in US I think it would be ‘hard cider’?) with sugar and then when the pears are done, cook the pans juice/cider concoction down to a yummy sauce.

  2. Joey

    looks delicious! Anyone have a suggestion for an equivalent amount of vanilla extract? 1 tsp or 1tbs? I can never seem to find/remember to pick up vanilla beans. thanks!

  3. Mac

    I love roasted pears! I just roasted some this past weekend with rosemary and maple syrup to go with a cheesecake. This recipe looks just as tasty, and I can’t wait to try it. Also – your baby is adorable!

  4. I love pears. Roasted. Poached. Baked. Raw. The taste is absolutely exquisite. And how much easier can you possibly make it. Right. It will make even the cooks-in-training, (uh, that would be me), look good :) And thanks for the bonus cutie-pie shots we get every few days!

  5. Oh dear, that last photo of him is so perfectly smug and cute. He almost looks cartoon like! He definitely belongs in a cute Pixar movie. :)

    I have to try these roasted pears. I’m used to only chomping on them but this is definitely a great alternative.

  6. judy gal

    Deb, if I wanted to package these up as a gift… what would you suggest?..

    And.. WHAT a beautiful, happy baby!!.. a real cutie!! the photos just make me want to hug him!

  7. I love this recipe and you make us believe that your son does too! Adorable!
    My children always ask me for “poires au chocolat” (pears with chocolate).. so I would add some bittersweet chocolate on top of their pears (and maybe mine if I am in a mood for chocolate).
    PS: With all the vanilla beans you used, you would have had a strongly flavored base to poach the pears…that would have saved you the butter (for that dessert-after-spare-ribs-dinner!).

  8. laura

    I just made this, also using the Atlantic recipe, for a dinner party I had a few weeks ago! We added a dollop of nutella and whipped cream to ours just before serving. they were perfect!

  9. Oh my. Sounds so much better than poached and easier. I’m thinking a drizzle of brandied caramel sauce on the plate before plopping a pear on it makes for the perfect finish to a rich meal.

    For your baby, I’d say he’s keeping that hair of his. Mine never had a ton, but they didn’t lose it. Their heads just got bigger and it took a month or two for the hair to fill in around their larger head. Jacob looks like he has plenty to go around.

  10. These pears look so beautiful. I can only wish for a smell option on the internet. I never really thought about serving them halved in a pan. This would also be a delicious way to cook the pears for this pear frangipane tart I make. Thanks so much.

  11. Pears are my favourite fall/winter fruit, but so often they are mealy or hard or just blah :( This looks like a fantastic way to make all pears awesome!! I will defintiely be making this and will report back, stat :-)

  12. I really, really want to make this. And i have a ton of pears at home! But I think my husband might threaten divorce if I bake the pears instead of leaving them to ripen so he can eat them with his lunch. The husband is CRAZY possessive of his pears!

  13. Amy

    I can’t get vanilla bean in my neck of the woods. How would I substitute vanilla extract? I know it won’t be anywhere as good but it’s my only option.

  14. Lindsay

    Is there any way to do this with vanilla extract? I don’t have the beans at home, and they are so darn expensive! Maybe mix some vanilla extract with the lemon juice?

  15. Karen

    Thank you from an apple-allergic person who has been looking for a different approach to fruit desserts. Everything is apple, apple, apple all autumn long.

    And Jacob is adorable.

  16. Amanda

    These look wonderful, and are likely going to make an appearance at my dinner this weekend. Can you explain what crème fraîche is? Do I make it? Can I buy it? Suitable substitutes?

  17. Shelley

    I use a similar Lynn Rosetto Kasper recipe, then slice the pears and put them on spinach salads with toasted pecans, goat cheese, and balsamic vinaigrette. They make a wonderful topping for a classy salad!

  18. Pears are my favorite fruit and I’m happy to say that we have a pear tree that was on it’s first bearing year this year. Next year we should have lots of pears that need attention. I will most certainly be impressing dinner guests with this and make it for the family too.

    The baby is adorable!!

  19. I just got home from the grocery store five minutes ago with pears I bought just because, I get on the computer and wow look at this recipe….sorry sweetheart no you may not have pears for lunch I’ll have to cook them first. And seriously woman you are dangerous wielding those pictures of that sweet baby!! Makes me want another one that age!

  20. Susan

    Deb – that baby is GORGEOUS!

    Just FYI, in her book A New Way to Cook, Sally has a variation on this that uses about a 1/4 cup of muscat as well. It adds a nice flavor to the syrup!

  21. Deane

    I’ve made this a couple of times based on Sally Schneider’s suggestions–always divine. I’ve used less sugar, a bit more vanilla, and added maple syrup. I’ve also cooked it in a covered casserole for a juicier dish. Strained Greek yogurt is another excellent accompaniment.

  22. linda

    just LOVE your site…elegant, fun, informative, instructional, just great, funky w/ fabulous photos, extraordinary recipes & the CUTEST BABY around!!

  23. Rebecca

    Deb, could you explain this whole ‘vanilla bean’ thing-a-ma-jig to me? I’ve only ever used extract and have no clue what you are toalking about (ok, other than vanilla actually comes from a bean, which I hear to be true…)

  24. Jenxoxo4

    oh my gosh, his little dimples are the CUTEST!!!…. oh yea, the pears look amazing too!! great party idea with a scoop of vanilla ice cream :) THX!

  25. Sam

    Beth(#69) – the link works if you just delete the last p on the end.

    Deb, these pears look amazing, and they are just what I was looking for to help off-set of the holiday cookies I have planned!

    1. deb

      Sam and Beth — Just fixed the link, thanks. It goes to a post on 9 more uses for these pears. Though I haven’t gotten to one of them!

      Amanda — Crème fraîche is like a cultured heavy cream, or a very rich sour cream. You can often find it in the cheese or dairy section of grocery stores; at least around here, it’s often in a little pink tub from some place in Vermont. There are also ways to make it at home from a mix of buttermilk and heavy cream. [Luisa has great, clear directions in this post.]

      Jen — I do use a melon baller. I find the shape and ease of coring fruit that way oddly enjoyable. (Though I still used a knife to get out the stems. You can probably get away with not doing so but they annoy me.)

      a wishful pantry — You could roast stone fruit! I will certainly try to next year.

      Dimples! — Yes, Jacob has one on his left cheek, just like his mama. I think it’s the only thing he gets from me! Well, that and the crazy hair and tendency to babble nonsensically all day long.

  26. Oh, this is a wonderful way to eat fruit (not that I cannot just eat it by hand, but this is decadent!). I was planning on making citrus cheesecake balls, but I might have to add this to the list as well for those of us who want to pretend to be healthier.

  27. Selkie

    Jacob is absolutely adorable…
    You must be in heaven…
    Enjoy! My oldest turns 26 this week, and I SWEAR he was just born last week….

  28. Hi Deb! Just wanted to let you know I love your posts, they always give me a laugh and inspire me to search for new dishes to try out. When I have some quiet time, I snuggle with my laptop and read all the posts I’ve missed in the last weeks. Makes my day! And btw, your baby is sooo cute! He looks so alert, anyone might think he’s older than 3 months! =)

  29. NicM

    So I got these teeny pears recently to use instead of strawberries in a bittersweet salad. I was waiting for some divine intervention to tell me how I could sweeten up the pears and lo and behold here it is!

  30. Susan

    What a nice switch, this time of year, to see a simple fruit prep to use as a dessert. Perfect timing, Deb!

    Those pics of Jacob are adorable. I love baby giggle!

  31. Anna

    @ Amy and anyone else looking for vanilla beans in remote areas:

    Try eBay. I have several good friends who are professional chefs and every single one of them buys all of their spices off eBay because they get a good deal and usually good quality (particularly if you stick with a “top rated seller”). You can usually get about a dozen good vanilla beans for a less than $10, which usually gets me 1-2 at the supermarket.

  32. sally

    i can’t wait to try these, pears and vanilla are a marriage made in heaven! thanks, deb! come on farmers market, please have beautiful pears this weekend!

    i buy vanilla beans on ebay from this seller:
    they have great flavor and are such a good deal! i just finished a batch of vanilla extract and it turned out amazing!

  33. Yay! I love a recipe that leaves my hands smelling like vanilla instead of garlic! (not that I let a little thing like that stop me from mincing garlic :D). I know it’s been said many times, many ways, but really now, how DID you get that baby to be so cute?!

  34. Kim M.

    Ok, Deb. I am now confessing…

    I love to check in daily (in hope) for your new recipes, but I LOVE your photos of Jacob! :-) He is the cutest baby!

    I can’t express my joy in that you are posting almost every other day (despite the fact that you are a new Mom!). How DO you do it?

  35. Hayley

    Looks yummy — have to ask though, did you really only use 2 TB butter? From the picture, it honestly looks like a good deal more, but my sense of perspective may be off a bit.

  36. Megan

    So weird. I just made braised beef short ribs with pear crisp for dessert on Sunday for a dinner party. Glad to know I’m thinking on the same wavelength as a home cook I idolize. :)

  37. Funny i’ve never actually roasted pears. These look very very good.

    Deb – all fears of blandness go away when you poach pears in white wine with whole peppercorns, vanilla bean, lemons, cinnamon sticks, and star anise. Oh yes.

    ps: the last photo (bottom right) of the baby is possibly the happiest baby face ever!!!

  38. Oh the smiles! And I don’t even mean the one I’m sportin’ cause of pears, but those BABY SMILES! Ahhh I want another one. Too bad they’re not as easy to bake as these pears…

  39. Pears look gorgeous…I hope we get some here soon so I can try this!

    Your adorable baby looks even more gorgeous though I must say! What a cutie! :)

  40. Nicole

    Beauty… the pears and your son…
    So simple and yet so good. Can’t wait to try. Thank you so much for your blog.. so many ideas / recpies have been used.

  41. ACLS

    Those photos made my day, but you could’ve made it twice over if you’d written:

    One pear ago: In a Winter Fruit Salad
    Two pears ago: Pear Crisps with Vanilla Brown Butter
    Three pears ago: Pear and Almond Tart
    Four pears ago: Bittersweet Chocolate and Pear Cake

    It’s just that kind of evening I guess.

  42. Jessica

    Deb, your baby is so amazing. I don’t know if you read all the comments on each post, I’m pretty far down here, but the baby pics seriously make my ovaries explode. The little hand clutching the brussels sprout was too much!! You’re killing me with cuteness!

  43. Jan

    I’m not a cook. I’ll probably never make a single recipe from this site. But that baby is delicious and I come every day hoping to see his little face. :-)

  44. This sounds so delicious. Even though it’s freezing cold here in Portland, I find myself craving this over ice cream. Perhaps I’ll counteract the cold with a hot pear toddy! Yum!

  45. Tamsin

    Well, I know what’s going on my oatmeal tomorrow morning… supposing they don’t all vanish beforehand. And Jacob is his usual beautiful self, thanks for the pics!

  46. Mia

    Wow- those pears look delicious and perfect for Christmas! I just made a Frangipane Ice Cream on my blog with sauteed pears but these look even better! I’ll have to use them next time. Your son is the cutest too!

  47. KateinIowa

    Yummy recipe. I’m Nana to 17 (18 on the way) grandchildren. Your little guy looks like he is thriving! Thanks for the pictures. He is beautiful.

  48. Jason

    these look absolutely scrumptious — and I never would have imagined roasted pears for dessert, much less that they would look this good. jacob has so many wonderful culinary adventures awaiting him once he grows up!

  49. Lindsey

    Wow. How are they on the second day (or were there any left)? I’d love to make these for a function at work but would have to do it the night before. Any tips on reheating in a microwave?

    1. deb

      Lindsey — The two tiny halves I have left on day three are still delicious, but this is best freshly made, so you can get the full effect of the bubbly caramel pan juices. I don’t have a microwave so I haven’t tried to reheat them in one…

      Leighann — Nah, just for the heck of it.

  50. Leighann

    I noticed you roasted the lemon along with the pears. Any specific reason or just a whim? Just thought I’d inquire before buying the grocery store out of their pear supply. :)

  51. Jennifer

    The thing about your blog is that you’re such an excellent writer. You know? Whether the recipe catches my eye or not (it almost always does) I love to read every entry because your writing is so brilliant. I am so glad I found you. I think I can thank dreamy cream scones for my original discovery. Your baby has been an added ingredient of deliciousness to the whole recipe. Happy Chanukkamas and New Year. Enjoy all that baby love everyday.

  52. AJ

    Love your site … I come here and almost always leave with a recipe I want to try … including this one. FYI …this holiday season Costco has been selling 10 vanilla beans (and they look to be beauties) for 12 dollars.

  53. Babs

    Can Jacob be any cuter????? I swear I look forward to your posts just so I can see some new pictures of him. The pears looks delicious too and I will be giving this recipe a try.

  54. Meg

    Nope, nope, those don’t look delicious at all. I definitely do not look forward to anything remotely approaching pear caramel… and I am not the least bit intrigued by this way to use a vanilla bean that is currently taking up space in my pantry.

    **runs out to buy pears**

    BTW – OMG, the CUTE exuding from that baby! Be still my heart!

  55. Letha

    Just what I need! Son-in-law, who knocks himself out w/ lobster on Xmas Eve and roast beef on Xmas Day, loves fruit for dessert, and every year I struggle to find something new as my contribution. Voila! Thank you, thank you.

  56. Martha in KS

    Oh my! Your precious little bundle has gone from a baby to a little boy almost overnight. His personalily really shines through in these photos – especially the smiling one. How adorable.

  57. Just so happen to have some vanilla bean pods on hand (I’ve got a pretty excellent source with Rodelle Vanilla)! I’m thrilled to see this recipe and think I’ll serve with cheese. By the way, the cream biscuits (yes, I bought a sifter!) were excellent. Thank you.

  58. Martha

    Have a bowl of pears on my counter…I will be making these for tonight’s supper.
    These have to be my first choice but I had rather be holding your handsome first choice!

  59. I adore roasted fruit! I have served apples in a similar way as I am not a hute fan or pear. I also do something similar in the summer when we BBQ. I will slice and pit some sweet Texas peaches and grill them for a couple of minutes per side. I let them cool slightly, making the skins easy to slide off, and serve them with a scoop vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of Golden Syrup. So good, and very popular after a rich meal.

  60. Karen

    Updating, I just made these and confess to eating the whole batch for dinner. THEY ARE THAT GOOD, people. And i didn’t even have vanilla beans, I just tossed my sugar with enough vanilla extract to moisten it and make it smell great.

    These would have been very, very good over vanilla ice cream. I will be making them again.

  61. Nan

    The smell – heavenly!

    My dog has migrated to the kitchen to keep guard. She doesn’t even do this for cheese-steak subs.

    The vanilla ice cream is on its way home.

    ….30 mins to test time…

  62. Jessica

    I love your recipes and your food photography but lately I find myself scanning the page first to see if there are any pictures of your son. I can’t get enough! :) Tooooo cuuuute.

  63. This looks great Deb! I’ll have to try this soon – the fact that it’s fruit makes it seem virtuous beside all the other holiday desserts around these days!

  64. Tonia

    Love to see pear recipes! We grow pears out here in central Washington State so always want people to buy lots of pears!!!! Love that dimple :-)

  65. Pam

    I’m in Japan and Western pears are ridiculously expensive and not very good. I’d love to try this with nashi – the round asian pears – do you think that would work? I’m guessing they’d need a longer roasting time…

    1. deb

      Pam — I’d think so. Just give it the same doneness test. It may not take longer… they’ve always seemed firmer but somehow wetter? Okay, I haven’t had my coffee yet so I might be just talking crazy.

  66. Sue

    I’m really mad at you. I just got here and already I’m in love, and looking forward to gaining 15 pounds. Thanks a lot! Your pix completely embrace what’s amazing about each recipe. I’m headed to the store after work to get me some pears! What a sweet boy you have, too. My baby boy is seventeen, and I love him more every day. Savor each moment.

  67. vivian

    For a truly decadent dessert, worthy of the best company, remove the pears when done and pour in come heavy whipping cream. Put back into the oven ’til bubbly. Whisk. Pear dulce de leche to spoon over the pears!

  68. NicM

    I made these last night and before I could add them to the bittersweet salad my husband declared them dessert and drizzled on some dark chocolate sauce. Sure we didn’t end up with any vegetables for dinner, but the pears are healthy right? I had leftover vanilla sugar so I threw some in my coffee this morning mmm mmm mmm.

  69. Sarah

    Deb, I just wanted to pop in and thank you so much for your constant ability to provide recipes that are simple and accessible to everyone. Even me–a college student!

    My cafeteria sells fruit sometimes, but it tends to be fairly hard and underripe; it’s not the ideal place for produce. I remembered seeing pears there a few days ago but was not motivated to buy them. Of course, as soon as I saw this recipe, I thought–“underripe pears? I can get underripe pears!”

    These were simple enough to do with my limited ingredients in a dorm kitchen. For anybody who wants to substitute vanilla extract, my method was to eyeball a little bit into the sugar just to flavour it (I’d say about 1/4 teaspoon). Then I sprinkled a little bit more into the water in the bottom of the pan in lieu of the vanilla bean pods. I basted them twice on each side, at ten-minute intervals, and when I flipped them I sprinkled them with a tiny bit of cinnamon, just for fun. They are HEAVENLY. I am now eating them instead of having real dinner. :)

  70. Jai

    I really like the sound of this pear recipe, the descriptopn of caramalised pears is something that simply does get my taste buds tingling. The idea of Vanilla roasted pear sorbet is something that I would really like to try also. Cute pics of your little boy aahhh.

  71. Judy Draper

    I made these last night on the spur of the moment as I had all the ingredients….they made our house smell heavenly…and they were most delicious with some caramel ice cream. My son, who 15 and 1/2 years ago was Jacob’s size, could hardly wait for them to come out of the oven….

  72. Rachel

    So good! I let these go a little too long and the caramel took that tiny step across the line between “deep dark and mysterious” and “tastes burnt.” They were a little too intense for me on their own, so I popped them in the fridge and pouted. The next day, however? On top of your arborio rice pudding? Win.

  73. Marcia

    I have 4 Pear halves in the oven now. I used dark brown sugar and a pinch of cinnamon with Cabot unsalted butter. I cored them with a metal 1/2 teaspoon measuring spoon and they look as pretty as your photo. Half of a boneless pork loin and 2 large potatoes are also in the oven. Dinner with a side of cole slaw means minimal work for the cook on a cold night (for Atlanta) @ 39 degrees.

  74. Oh! I made something like this earlier in the year when it was winter here in Australia. I loved it served with Alice Medrich’s honey icecream. I just want to give Jacob a big cuddle :)

  75. Amanda G

    Delightful! I served these with a dollop of almond whipped cream and apple cider. They were the perfect treat on a blustery Colorado winter’s day.

  76. We tried these with great success – they were delicious! The only slight hiccup was that we may have used too large of a dish, so that the water dried up and some of the caramelized sugar started to burn. We added some extra water and it worked just fine, but I think next time I’ll either use a smaller dish or a few extra tablespoons of water.

  77. Sharon

    wow! just took my first bite… this evening is made. thank you for a simple and delicious recipe! btw your baby boy is to die for. what a cutie!

  78. michelle arianne

    SIMPLE & AMAZING! We had company for dinner and everyone had seconds. These of course should taste amazing with ice cream, but since it’s below freezing in Chicago, I served these with whipped cream. I used the other half of the vanilla bean for the whipped cream, no need to sweeten it with sugar since the pears are sweet enough already.

    And what a gorgeous, sweet baby!

  79. Chris

    I made this the other night and other than the fact that the sauce was thin rather than the syrup I had expected, it was a lovely fresh finish to dinner. Thanks for sharing.

  80. Shannon

    Does anyone think this would work with quince? I really want to make something with quince but am not sure of what and it seemed this might be the right recipe to be my first try.

  81. Teenytoez

    Hey Deb,
    Thanks for an awesome recipe.
    I was dying to make this and bought a few different varieties of pears ie: bosc,comice,anjou,bartlett. I made 1 1/2 of the recipe and followed the instructions exactly.
    The pears looked lovely, however 1 hr 10 mins later and the sauce had still not caramelized. I noticed that it was very very watery!
    The pears were starting to break down so i had to take them out of the oven.
    Was it because my pears were too juicy?? I want to make this recipe again for Xmas dinner but I would like to ensure it caramelizes this time.. Any suggestions?
    THanks so much

  82. rebecca k

    so i made these for a holiday party and they were a huge hit. in addition to the pears i made a brie and honey mousse made of creamed brie folded into fresh whipped cream. it was the PERFECT compliment to the pears

  83. Deb you are a pear princess! I made these today for a desserts-only dinner party and they were delicious. If that weren’t enough, it’s almost worth making them just for the *smell*! My caramel came out perfectly, it wasn’t too watery at all :)

  84. JustJessiB

    Awesome. My sauce wasn’t as carmelized as I would have liked, so I finished it on the stovetop with a little more sugar. One of the most delicious desserts I have ever prepared/tasted. The pear and vanilla is a marvelous pairing brought to perfection with the roasting and pops with the hint of lemon. Thank you!

  85. Kristine

    I made these, with your Vanilla Roasted Pears over “Five” Vanilla Ice Cream (Haagen Daz). ORGASMIC!!! TO DIE FOR!!!! BETTER THAN SEX!!!!

  86. Francheska

    What if I don’t have vanilla beans? I wouldn’t mind spending whatever their outrageous cost is because ive always wanted to use them but they don’t ship them to Puerto Rico as far as I know, Cant I just brush some good extract on them and serve them with vanilla bean ice cream???

  87. Francheska

    Oh and I just thought, Can I use brown sugar for this?? Sounds very…caramel-y WHY DO I EVEN ASK?!? I’m sure it would be harmless…Right?

  88. Wow – the photographs are so gorgeous! They are bad influencers because I want to make everything on your site! This is my first time to comment, but I have made many of your recipes and I have really liked them all!

    I was looking for a dessert and this is so beautiful, simple and perfect for wintertime.

  89. Melissa

    I made these pears for Christmas Eve with my family and they were a hit – went over big even though there were many many many other choices…. I topped them with the butterscotch sauce posted recently too – YUM!

  90. Lisa in Toronto

    I also want to second the positive feedback on the pear recipe. I made them on Christmas Eve and they are indeed delicious! I will be making them many times in the future. Thanks so much for sharing the recipe with your readers.
    Best wishes for 2010!

  91. annette


    i just did last night the pear recipe for desert. i put them on the chocolate coconut creams from tartine gourmande and they were very good.
    also the left over was used with my yogurt this morning just delicous.

    love and a happy new year from switzerland


  92. Tracy

    Made this for Christmas Eve dessert, to go with the Gramercy Tavern Gingerbread. The house smelled heavenly in the afternoon while the pears were roasting. I had to let them cool (limited oven space, you know), but put them, covered with foil, in a 300 oven after dinner while opening gifts, and they were perfect, although I forgot about them for nearly an hour. (When I remembered, I turned off the oven and left them in to stay warm.) Guests were offered pears, gingerbread, vanilla ice cream and barely-sweetened whipped cream, and whether they chose one or all, everyone loved it. Thanks, Deb!

  93. Sally O’Briant

    I tried these for Christmas dinner with not so good results. I used Anjou pears that were perhaps too juicy even though they were not overripe. The sauce was watery and the pears turned mushy only halfway through the recommended cooking time. I took them out and boiled the sauce down but it never really caramelized. I also thought the lemon fought with the vanilla so next time I would leave out the lemon.

  94. Guy

    Hi Deb,

    First time,long time….so I just came around to making this for my new year’s eve dinner party.It was perfect! Thank you. I did not baste and only flipped them once and added a bit more water and a dollup of butter to the bubbly liquid. I took a bit longer to get soft and will increase the temp nextime a bit. All in all, it was superb!..I served it with Vanilla Bean ice cream we had at home too…yummy,sticky,drippy goo.

  95. Lee Ann

    OH, these are soooooo good! I made them and wanted to eat everyone of them right then and there, but I held off! Then I actually served them to 6 guys (one husband, two sons and three friends) and they devoured them! I thought they would turn their noses up at them and declare them “frilly” food! But no….they wanted to know how I made them! Cracked me up! Thanks! It’s a keeper!

  96. Lauren

    Maybe the ripeness makes a difference, because I made this with Anjou pears bought a few hours before at the supermarket, and they cooked through in about a half hour, with the sauce caramelizing in the oven in that time. Then again, I also used about a capful of vanilla extract instead of the vanilla bean, and half brown sugar, half white, so maybe that made a difference. Thank you so much for the recipe! I love having easy, decadent desserts around.

  97. John

    I just made this, topped with your ridiculously easy butterscotch sauce (which was both – and a quick glug of bourbon halfway through worked very well). Both are outstanding and go great together!

  98. Chris

    Ohhh yum. If a pear is a fruit, this means I don’t have to worry about feeling guilty eating lots of dessert… right? Right.
    I have a recipe where you core the pears, fill the inside with chocolate, then wrap the pears in pastry, drizzling it with a honey-butter sauce. It’s delicious!

  99. georgie

    Honestly, I think you gorgeous baby is the most divine munchkin that I have EVER seen………. I that includes my own! Sssshhhh, don’t tell clementine and flora, it will cause a riot!!!

  100. Tim

    I think I’ve found a new comfort food. Made a double batch for 5 couples and combined with a scoop of creamy vanilla ice cream this was heavenly. Bravo!

  101. A much belated post, but I thought I’d share for those that want to make this ahead of time. I followed the recipe as Deb instructs through the first 30 minutes of baking. I then flipped the pears over, baked an additional 15 minutes, and then let the pears come to room temperature. When I was ready to finish the dish, I flipped the pears back over so the cut side was up and baked for an additional 15 minutes. The sauce finished caramelizing perfectly, the pears were tender and delicious, and the house was filled with warm vanilla scents. Perfect!

  102. Laura

    I bought vanilla bean just to make this, and it was wonderful! The vanilla sugary pear scent is unbelievable in the house. The best advice I have is to really let the pears get soft and cook completely… heavenly! Perfect for ice cream. Thanks so much for the great recipe!!

  103. Angela

    I made these and they were really good. I reheated leftovers with a dollop of caramel sauce the next day and they were fantastic.

  104. Melissa

    Now I know what to do with a can of pears that have been sitting in the pantry forever. I think I may try using orange oil instead.

  105. Randi Lynne

    I made this last nite to use up some pears that were getting too ripe. This was a lovely dessert that I topped with some vanilla ice cream. Great idea for a dinner party!

  106. Shirley

    I wanted to make these the other day and realized I was out of lemons and lemon juice. My husband suggested I used some Chambord we had on hand in place of the lemon juice. This made a delicious substitute! I’m interested to try the lemon next time and see how the flavor changes.

  107. Amanda

    I know I’m almost a year late in reading and responding to this receipe and posts, but if anyone is looking for affordable vanilla beans try the bulk spice section at Whole Foods. They’re sold by ounce instead of by count, and you can get one for under $2.

  108. Sarah R

    I just tried this with apples instead of pears. In case anybody else is wondering about an apple to pear substitution, it works and it is delicious!

  109. April

    These were great but I used apples since that’s what I had on hand. I know the basting is necessary but it made it a bit tedious…you know, four kids!

  110. Kristen

    I made these last night for an Italian dinner party where I served Ina’s Turkey Goat Cheese Lasgna. These pears were perfect and light..and also the leftovers were delicious in my oatmeal.

  111. Torri

    My baby is flying home from college tonight and these are in the oven waiting for her. They have been her favorite since you posted them last year. Thank you!

  112. Teresa

    How did I miss these last year? I have made poached pears with vanilla a few times but I’ll bet this is even better. Thank you for liniking to this recipe this recipe from the oatmeal cookies!!

  113. Kassia

    I have made this at least 5 times since discovering it sometime in the fall. Amazing every time! Even the time when I used VERY underripe Bartlett pears and had to keep roasting them and roasting them while adding more liquid, butter and sugar because the caramel had all evaporated or burned!

  114. Sheygetz

    Sounds yummy. I want to go for the variant mentioned in the original article, using thyme, not vanilla. I intend to serve this with Coppa – an Italian sort of bacon – and arugula. I wonder, should I still add sugar with the thyme or rather some coarsely ground pepper? What does everybody think?

  115. Jessica

    The verdict is in…these are AMAZING. Just the right amount of sweet, and they’re even better warmed up the next day. Thank you for this simple but delicious recipe!

  116. Jen

    Just made these for a dinner party dessert & they got rave reviews! (Served with creme fraiche that I added some of the vanilla sugar to.) Now I’m kicking myself that I could’ve been making this for over a year, and I didn’t even know it! I can’t stop thinking of all the other uses — thinking that french toast accompaniment is tops on the list for next time.

  117. The vanilla inspired the final ingredient for a baked pears recipe with dried cherries, almonds and port sauce I just made. It was a perfect touch and the recipe would not have tasted as good without it. Thanks for the suggestion!

  118. Veronica

    Scene: Husband says last minute dinner party tonight with a very important colleague of his. Me, scrambling at work to come up with a menu without needing to stop at the grocery. You, saving my life. Dinner: Cauliflower & potatoes Indian dish (had before, many times, LOVE). Dessert: this – first time, can. not. wait. Vanilla bean is the only thing missing :( but I think it will be ok, just this once ;)

  119. DJ

    Wonderful recipe. I used Warren pears, and I added a bit of freshly ground black pepper. That may sound odd, but it added a great spice note, like any freshly grated spice, and it enhanced the intensity of the vanilla bean. Black pepper is also good with pears if you don’t have a vanilla bean handy.

  120. Lucy

    I made these last night and they were fantastic, with such a lovely aroma wafting through the house. The combination of hot pears and cold ice ream is so good! Thank you for the recipe.

  121. amy G

    I LOVED this recipe;however, my kids and husband hated it. I tried to sweeten the deal with vanilla ice cream, but they still boo’d me. :( I will try it for a dinner party – maybe a more mature audience will appreciate it!

  122. Chloe

    These are my new favourite dessert. I served them with lavender ice cream the first time, and plain vanilla the next time, but they’re equally delicious on their own. Recently, I’ve been daydreaming about using them as a topping for plain cheesecake.

  123. I made these pears with the ginger bread bundt cake and my friend said it was a poem – I agree – it was unbelievable! We all were in heaven – my friends, daughters and husband. There was much second guessing by my family when I was making this and complete acknowledgement that it was incredible with the first bite. Thank you so much – I love your recipes!

  124. Jen

    I felt like fancifying our family’s dinner tonight, and this was the ticket. Delicious! Forgiving too, since I was rushed and cooked it at 400 instead to get the caramelization going. If you doubt me about the deliciousness, even a smidge, consider that my 6-year-old said that it was “almost” as good as cake, as he presented it to his younger brother in pretend birthday song. And this was with a Greek yogurt accompaniment since we were out of ice cream. I agree with Marla that this would be fab with the gingerbread bundt cake from this site that is going to be a Christmas Eve tradition in our home….I’m a big fan!

  125. Joanne

    Wow. I made this today and I’m seriously impressed. I made it ahead of time and kept it in the fridge for a few hours and then cooked it. I’m making it again tomorrow because it’s been requested for a fireworks night party. Truly delicious food, thanks Deb!

  126. Christine

    My rendition of this recipe is baking now. I really need to work on my coring skills though, it’s definitely not as pretty as in the pictures.

  127. Sarah

    This recipe looks great!! I wanted to make it as a second dessert for thanksgiving, do you think I could chop the pears up, use this recipe and then throw it in a pie crust? I’m trying to figure out baking times and stuff but would really love some guidance… Deb? Anyone? Thanks in advance :)

  128. Michele

    My daughter made this for our winter solstice party and served it with her homemade vanilla malt ice cream. It was the highlight of the evening. Elegant and delicious.

  129. Amy

    I’m going to go try this recipe right now :) I have Crohn’s disease so I am unable to eat a lot of raw fruit and I needed something like this to spice up my rather boring diet.

  130. Deb, I thought you would enjoy my photo of the pears (click my name). I made these for Christmas breakfast. As you can see, I left the skins on. What a hit! I served them on beds of Asian spice-mulled quinoa porridge I created myself. Got a lot of great photos out of that meal! I’m a longtime fan and have done my part to spread the gospel of Smitten Kitchen in Kenya where I live.

  131. Diana

    I found your recipe when I googled a recipe for baked pears. Made them for dinner guests yesterday. Everyone enjoyed them.
    I followed your recipe. It did take a total of 1 hour to bake and get the carmelized pears desired. It was easy and turned out looking like your photos. I served them plain with the carmelized syrup. Next time I will try a dollop of creme fraiche. Thank you for the recipe. I appreciated a simple recipe I could make in advance. The result was an impressive dessert that many have not tried to make themselves.

  132. Siets


    I made these pears next to poached pears and vanilla panna cotta for Christmas and for a group dinner (20 people). Both times it was a big hit! Even our no-sweet-tooth-guest loved them.
    I used canned pears as a shortcut for the group dinner, however I adjusted cooking time. I also add cardamom powder (because I love cardamom) if anyone is interested. To bad its not in the metric system, but I just trusted my instincts. It has become one of my basic desserts recipes


    PS I apologize for my spelling/grammar errors. English is not my native language

  133. I don’t know what happened. I followed the recipe, but when I pulled the pan out of the oven all my beautiful pan juices were burnt to the bottom. I am using a new oven; maybe I just need to learn this oven better. The sampling I took before I burnt everything was terrific, so I will definitely try this again, with a shorter cooking time. Sigh.

  134. Jessica

    I had been thinking of trying this recipe for weeks but kept forgetting to pick up pears at the grocery store. Tonight, I saw they were on sale and knew I had to make this dish ASAP. And…oh my goodness these are amazing and so, so, so easy. It took me a bit longer in time than you recommended (about an hour and fifteen minutes, but admittedly my pears were large) and I used 2 smaller baking dishes. They smell and taste divine.

  135. c

    I used Anjou and skipped the basting. They were good (although not as good as the roasted pear dessert from Cook’s Illustrated, which knocked my socks off). They weren’t that impressive in my arugula salad with sherry vinegar dressing, but were pretty tasty with prosciutto.

  136. Jacqueline

    It’s like you read my mind. I’ve been looking for a good pear recipe to serve with your Hazelnut Brown Butter cake. This looks perfect. Some home made brown sugar vanilla ice cream will totally complete the trifecta. Thanks!

  137. Martha

    Lovely& I am confident that my seriously Foodie-niece, a gorgeous and hardworking nurse, adoring wife, energetic mother of two under-fives will create this to perfection making the wait for Christmas dessert a holiday highlight for all of us!

    Here is an alternate recipe:
    Peel, or not if tender skinned,core & cube pears of your choice, arrange them in a dish, sprinkle generously with high quality or ordinary cinnamon, let them rest or not and then EAT – Yum

  138. Laurel

    Hi there, there are many many comments on this feed so I don’t know if this was covered, but can you make this without a vanilla bean? I would like to make this tonight and only have extract. Thanks for any help or guidance you can offer.

  139. Meena

    Delicious. Served a la mode, and even my youngest, who is a picky eater, loved the dish. Definitely saving this recipe for the rest of the pear season! Thanks Deb for another stellar recipe.

  140. Kris

    I’ve made these a few times now and it’s definitely a good dinner party dessert for when you just want something simple and not too decadent to follow a big meal (the first time I made them was for dessert after a wine and cheese – perfect)! You can do it all ahead of time and serve them cold; or if you want them to be served warm, you can assemble everything before people come over – I toss the pears with the lemon juice in the pan and then add the butter; then just throw in the sugar/vanilla mixture and water right before I put them in the oven, which I do just as we’re sitting down for the meal. You only have to get up once to check on them and they’re ready to be eaten warm with ice cream when you need them! Too easy and everybody always seems to love it

  141. Susan

    Dear Deb,

    Why is it that I can’t print any of the article and pictures anymore. The only thing that prints is the recipe. I love the pictures and your stories.

    1. deb

      So, I never had a print template with photos included (because then people get mad I’m wasting toner when they just wanted the recipe) so I’m not sure how you were printing them before? I do have it on my wishlist for the WordPress gurus who built this site to create a button that will allow people to choose whether they’d like to print the recipe with the top photo or not, but it’s not something they’ve been able to do yet. Hopefully soon.

  142. McKenzie

    I’ve made this recipe several times and absolutely love it! I’d like to make it for thanksgiving but my mom can no longer eat dairy. Would you have a suggestion for a butter substitute that would work in this recipe? She also cannot have soy. Thanks!

        1. McKenzie

          Hi Jane,

          I actually ended up making a pumpkin pie instead. I still want to try this with coconut oil sometime though! I recently bought the triple filtered coconut oil from Trader Joes, which has almost no flavor. I think that would maybe work well.

            1. McKenzie

              I’d love to know how it turns out! When I’ve made it with butter, I’ve served it over vanilla bean ice cream. I bet coconut ice cream would be delicious with it

              1. Hi McKenzie,
                Happy to report coconut oil works really well – I used 7 pears (about 3 1/2 lbs.) and 2 T. coconut oil – refined. I also changed the recipe a little (took out sugar and used homemade date syrup, didn’t have a vanilla bean so subbed grated ginger).
                Made ahead and brought them to a friend’s house reheated at 325° for 20 minutes. Perfect warm dessert for a snowy afternoon. Enjoy!

      1. WrittenPyramids

        I just made this with Earth Balance. I cooked it for longer, but I think that reflected the ripeness of the pears (or lack thereof) not the lack of dairy, and everyone LOVED it. I am so sad I have no more leftovers.

  143. Dahlink

    We discovered this recipe last year and it quickly became our favorite winter dessert. The family acupuncturist tells me that warm pears are good for the lungs, according to Chinese medicine–yet another good reason to make this!

  144. April.

    This is the most forgiving recipe I have ever tried. We did it for Christmas Dinner dessert, and the oven is new to us. The broiler instead of the bottom element was on for most of the first part, so the sauce didn’t thicken. Also, I didn’t peel them (the skins had such a lovely blush). Completely did not matter at all. It tasted excellent; it smelled like heaven on earth – and everybody wants it next year – though I doubt we will wait that long before trying it again.

    I even think a person could do the first bake earlier, and then return it to the oven after supper is out and while the main meal is consumed, and it would be just fine (tiny oven, many veg dishes).

    Yes, people ate the skins and smacked their lips. Even the pear stems were worth sucking on. :)

    Thank you. :)

  145. Christy Stebbins

    Can you freeze this dish? What happens to the caramelization if you do? I am thinking of serving it to family and friends the day before Thanksgiving.

  146. Susan Iseman

    Deb: Looks wonderful! Have you ever used Vanilla Paste? Nielsen Massey makes it, and there are a few other brands I’ve seen. It’s like having whole vanilla bean but in a jar. Bon appetit!

    1. deb

      Yes but if it’s artificial, maybe just bake the pears without it. Butter, lemon and pear juice can make wonderful flavors together without the vanilla distraction.

  147. Martha

    Loved this…great way to use pears we received for the holidays, especially when we were tired of rich baked goods (those cookies!).

  148. Chamila Purbhoo

    its peak summer here as I live in a tropical island. Can we serve this dessert cold with ice cream or it will be too sweet? Will the caramelized sauce be too hard if I place in the fridge?

  149. Jane Richardson

    We love these pears at our house. Given a snow day, with a bowl of pears but no lemons or white sugar, I made this with dry white wine and brown sugar. It was delicious.

  150. rhannah

    Made these this morning to go with Belgian waffles (best idea ever) and they were deliciousss. I used Bartlett pears and they were still a bit firm after 55min but the sauce had turned caramel-y and I was too impatient to wait longer. Absolutely wonderful for a fall brunch. :)

  151. Diane

    There were very good. I tested the recipe today, as a possible accompaniment to my chocolate bûches de Noël (Christmas logs). Thank you !

  152. Corinne Iris Flax

    An absolutely delish and forgiving recipe. Used cinnamon sticks in a few pears to stand in for their stems, didn’t peel and used a bartlett and a green anjou. So amazingly good, also used a bit of hard cider in the pan instead of water. Amazing and a great finish to a wonderful meal.

  153. Carly Cohen-Bradshaw

    This might be an odd question but what do you think about using these as a cobbler base? I came across a recipe for pear cobbler (biscuits always catch my eye) I saw cinnamon & nutmeg and I immediately thought of these pears instead. Sometimes at this time of year all the heavy, rich, spiced food is just too much. These are one of my family’s favorite. So, if I sliced the pears into smaller chunks and added a smidge of cornstarch maybe? Any other ideas to adapt it? Fluffy biscuit crust over pears in vanilla-lemon-caramel sauce just sounds so appealing! I will report back if I try it ;}

  154. jeannie

    I adore these pears!!! I served them with pumpkin custards several Thanksgivings. Our homegrown pears are not nearly as pretty as the store bought but they make up for that with taste.