"As for my next book, I won't write it till it has grown heavy in my mind like a ripe pear; pendant, gravid, asking to be cut or it will fall."
There’s a moment in your life in which you realize everything is suddenly (*gasp*) too sweet! Beloved post-Halloween peanut butter cups are now incredibly saccharine, and there are desserts you can only take one bite of before fearing the doctor might call to let you know you’re now a diabetic. Reading “Death by Chocolate” (by the way, if I’m at the type of restaurant that says “Death by Chocolate”, it’s two in the morning and I’m probably drunk) no longer sounds like a sadistic pleasure experience versus a literal interpretation.
This is no doubt a major milestone –if you could call it that– for every avid eater, and for myself a startling revelation. I’m big on eating dessert, and especially on eating its leftovers the morning after. Maybe I shouldn’t confess this on a somewhat public platform, but dessert for breakfast rocks, and I’m not talking about the routine argument of “French Toast is an excuse to eat dessert at breakfast.” If you’re lucky enough to still have a tolerance for high sugar content, I’m telling you now carrot cake is a treasured morning meal, green tea ice cream is like a glass of milk, and raspberry crumble can be deemed a nutritious breakfast because of the oats on top.
But if you’re finding yourself in my shoes, take solace in the fact “adult-ish” desserts in my opinion can become a lot more easier to put together. You can just dump in things with reckless abandon and odds are it will turn out good, and even if you didn’t add enough sugar to a pan of coppered baked pears, just cover it all up with some flowy bitter ganache.
(P.S. I think I’ve hit a dessert for breakfast milestone with this – it has fruit AND yogurt, instantly qualifying it for this prestigious category.)
baked pears with ginger, chocolate & yogurt
inspired by Molly Wizenberg
This is not meant to be a complex dessert: you throw things in an oven, put a bowl in a microwave, and at most boil some liquid in a small saucepan. For convenience' sake I've kept the ingredients relatively innocuous, but by all means you do you – a cinnamon stick with the pears, grand marnier in the chocolate sauce, or perhaps a pool of creme anglaise to sit the pears in versus a pillow of yogurt, though I'll admit you'll have a harder time getting away with eating this for breakfast if you do that.
For the pears + yogurt
3 pears (comice, bosc, d’anjou, what have you), cored and quartered
2 tablespoons of granulated sugar
¼ cup thinly sliced candied ginger
A small pinch of nutmeg
2 tablespoons butter, cut into small cubes
½ cup apple juice
1 ½ cups Greek yogurt
For the chocolate sauce
1 cup heavy cream
4 ounces of bittersweet chocolate
Crumbled gingersnap cookies
Mise en place: baked pears + yogurt
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Snugly fit the quartered pears into an oven proof dish (Peel them only if you mind the skin). Sprinkle with the sugar, nutmeg, candied ginger, and dot with the cubed butter. Pour the apple juice into the bottom of the pan, cover with foil, and bake for 25-30 minutes, until a knife easily pierces the flesh.
(If you can muster the small extra effort, taking off the foil and broiling the pears so the exposed tops get wonderfully burnt and caramel-y ain’t a bad idea.)
Pour the liquid from the baked pears and ginger into a small saucepan. Reduce on high until the liquid has become a thick, syrupy caramel. Let it cool slightly before stirring it into the greek yogurt.
Mise en place: chocolate sauce
While my inner culinary high brow would encourage you to whip out a double boiler, honestly it’s not worth it for such a small amount of chocolate and cream. Dump both into a bowl and microwave in short fifteen second bursts, until the chocolate is thoroughly melted into the cream, adding more cream if necessary until you reach the desired consistency. It should flow smoothly in a steady stream.
To plate: Pour the liquid from the baked pears and ginger into a small saucepan. Reduce on high until the liquid has become a thick, syrupy caramel. Let it cool slightly before stirring it into the greek yogurt. Divide the yogurt among bowls, and arrange the pears on top. Fish out the strips of candied ginger and sprinkle on top, followed by a couple splatters of chocolate sauce and crumbled gingersnaps.
Divide the yogurt among four bowls, and arrange three pears quarters and slivers of the candied ginger on top. Pour over the chocolate sauce and finish with crumbled gingersnaps. Eat some post-dinner, and then again for breakfast the next day.