The post about poached pears made me think about one of my favorite desserts. It's one of those desserts that is easy, but has that major "wow" factor for guests. Soooo easy. Soooo artery clogging. Soooo good...
BAKED PEARS WITH BUTTERSCOTCH SAUCE
4-6 ripe but firm pears (Large pears will make a serving out of each half; smaller pears will need both halves to make one serving. Bartlett or D'anjou both work fine.)
1 stick butter, cut into pieces
2/3 firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoon Scotch whisky
1. Preheat oven to 375F. Peel the pears, cut them in half lengthwise and scoop out the cores. Rub all over with lemon half to prevent browning.
2. Melt the butter over medium heat in a large iron skillet or pyrex baking dish. Add brown sugar and stir to dissolve. Arrange pears in pan, cut side down, in a single layer. (For 6 or more pears, use a separate saucepan to make the sauce and a 13x9 baking dish for the baking. For 4 you can do everything in one dish.)
3.Bake the pears uncovered, basting occasionally with the liquid in the pan, until they begin to soften and color slightly, 20 minutes to 1 hour. It's not exact, I just stick the pears in when we sit down for dinner and pull them out when the main course is over. Remove pears with a slotted spoon and set aside in bowls to cool slightly.
4. Transfer dish back to a burner (or pour the mixture from the baking dish back into the sauce pan) and boil the mixture left behind over medium-high heat with constant stirring until it thickens and reaches a golden-brown color and smells like caramel, 2 to 5 minutes.
5. Slowly whisk in the cream until smooth. Add vanilla, salt, and Scotch.
6. Slice pears and fan out on plate or bowl. Pour warm sauce over pears. Serve with a scoop of really good vanilla ice cream. Serve immediately.