Mi mamá is always full of surprises. Yesterday, being my birthday, was no different.
I decided last minute to fly to DC to party and bring in fall. After all, a Cuban household is not a legitimate one without throwing down for any occasion. I knew she’d make an extra special dinner, which consisted of oxtail, yuca con garlic mojo, moros y cristianos, sweet fried plantain, a game or two of dominoes and café con leche.
I also “knew” we’d be having flan for dessert.
Yeah, not so much.
Sometime last week my mom calls me all excited to brag about some roasted pear recipe she’d just come up with. I’m thinking “great!” If it’s anything like the one I had last summer in St. Maarten (you can read about it here), then I couldn’t wait. Neither one of us has ever made roasted pears, but if I know my mother, I know she put her foot in it, without thinking twice about how to make it or referring to tried and true recipes from the experts. She insisted it was her new favorite dessert and that she’d make it for me if I came up for my birthday. She was more excited that my father LOVED it. He’s all about classic Cuban, French and Italian food.
Indeed, there was no flan for dessert last night.
Early in the day, as any Latin woman does, mami pulled out her all her equipment and went to work. She doesn’t like being bothered while she’s cooking, a trait I’ve acquired, but I insisted on nit picking everything she has piled up in the cupboards since my last visit. There is always something new to add to my “take back to Atlanta” stash! As I’m snooping, she peeled 12 Bosc pears, which are extremely juicy and really flavorful. A good buying tip: go to Costco and buy a pack of 15 for $5! A steal for sure.
In any case, I wasn’t paying much attention, but I did notice she took her time in ensuring all of the skin was removed. She perfectly placed them in a glass dish and put them in the oven.
I never even noticed what she did to make the glaze, but I do remember mention of cloves and rum. But not plain dark rum. I got a whiff of this amazingly sweet and spicy orange rum from an unlabeled bottle.
Who knows where she got it from.
By the way, my “stash” right now consists of gourmet almond extract, Cuban coffee, sleepy time tea, hot sauce, a few vintage plates for set design and capers. Surely, it will expand by next week!
I completely forgot about the pears until dinner time. One of our fams’ fave cakes from a local bakery made it to the table, for the sole purpose of singing Happy Birthday and blowing out candles. Not because it was the show stopper.
So let’s get to the pears, the real birthday cake.
The smell out out of the oven was intoxicating! The smell of cloves, coupled with sweet and spicy aromas of the orange rum quickly masked the robust oxtail we had for dinner. The pears themselves were perfectly browned, with the top being blackened to point. Anything less and it would have been too dull. Anything more and it would have been burned. The tenderness of the pears just couldn’t be better. Truly butter soft! Don’t you just love it when you do something for the 2nd time and it comes out even better than you anticipated.
And the glaze, it was the perfect consistency and sweetness. So good, I took two tablespoons of it and sipped with nothing else. In fact, I could drink a glass of that stuff. I quickly found myself wanting to ration the pears. Halves for everyone instead of one whole one. But, that would be greedy and so not in the spirit of fall warmth!
Of 12 pears brought to the table, the 3 you see in pictures were the only ones left and I had to fight for them in order to take pictures. Don’t they just look delicious! I promise you these roasted pears are a perfect and wonderfully refreshing fall dessert that will take great place of traditional cakes. They take much less time than cake, pie and has less ingredients. And as we know, sometimes, less is more!
There’s nothing like fall desserts and complete improvisation and use of ingredients that kick up flavor to a whole other level! From my mami’s cocina to yours!
HAVE YOU ROASTED PEARS BEFORE? HOW SO?
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Eat well, love unapologetically, pray with true intention, and take care of yourself.
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- 12 Bosc pears
- 4 cloves
- 1 cup fresh orange juice
- 2 cups brown sugar
- 1 cup orange rum or brandy, parted
- 2 tbsp. butter
Peel pears completely. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease glass dish with butter, covering entirely. In medium sauce pan, stir in orange juice, sugar and cloves to boil and stir. Reduce heat to low temperature after syrup-like consistency has formed an stir gently. Pour all of mixture evenly onto pears. Evenly distribute 1 cup of rum or brandy to pears. Cover glass dish with aluminum foil and roast for 15 minutes in oven. Remove foil and remaining alcohol to dish. Sprinkle some extra brown sugar on top of pears. Place dish of pears back in oven for another 15-20 minutes until tip of pears are slightly blackened.
Serve warm. Add ice cream on side if you’d like.