A roast, according to Wikipedia, is "an event in which an individual is subject to publicly bearing insults, praise, outlandish true and untrue stories, and heartwarming tributes.... Anyone who is honored in such a way is said to have been "roasted". Why not honor fruit in the same way? Only instead of roasting with jokes, lets turn up the heat in the oven.
My copy of Barbara Kafka's book Roasting sits on my cookbook shelf in my direct and daily line of sight from both the kitchen and my dining room table. Its simple title has been burned into my subconscious and little by little I have felt more and more the need to roast things...ok, everything. Especially interesting to me is roasted fruit. What will the miracle of caramelization do to the natural sweetness of an ordinary apricot, papaya, or plum?
You will find the Muscat Caramel to be an amazing addition to the pears. There are different flavors of Muscat. The amber-gold sugar syrup brings the dessert to ethereal heights.
Roasted Fig- Stuffed Pears with Muscat Caramel Sauce
Adapted from Price Kushner
-- 4 Pears, they don't necessarily need to be ripe.
-- 1/2 Cup sugar, white or brown, for pears
-- 5-6 Medjool dates, pitted
-- 1 Cup Muscat
-- 1/2 Cup sugar, white, for caramel
Notes from the Kitchen
* I used both brown and white sugar to see which seemed to work better for roasting. I didn't find much of a difference between the two during the roasting. The only difference I noticed was that the fine grain sugar coated the pears more evenly than the large granules of Sugar in the Raw.
* In the picture for step 5 you might have noticed that the pan I used was too shallow to hold 1 inch of water. That was a mistake. Beware...if the water evaporates while roasting you will probably have massive billows of smoke coming out of your oven (as I did). This is not the pears that are burning. It is the sugar on the bottom of the pan. If you would like to avoid smoke alarms going off be sure to have water in the bottom of the pan for both roastings. You've been warned...
*Don't be afraid of the caramel. It is easy, just pay attention to it and you will have an amazing sauce to coat your pears with.