Friday, November 18, 2016

Honey and Butter baked Pears and a Super Soft Kidsilk Scarf ~

Thanksgiving is the perfect time to slow down and appreciate the simple things in life.  It's a time to reconnect with family and friends, share the bounty of our table and remember all the many blessings and wonderful things that we have.  Sometimes the beauty of this holiday can be lost with all the stress of shopping and cooking and trying to create the perfect holiday experience.  That sadly misses the point.  What really matters is spending time together and recognizing that we have many things to be grateful for and that requires shutting out the noise and distractions that keep us from being fully present for others and contemplating who we are and what matters to us.  This is a perfect time to savor the simple pleasures in life and to that end I am sharing a very easy to make dessert that celebrates seasonal fruit; is sophisticated enough to serve to company; and is the perfect ending to any meal.  It's pears baked in honey and butter and I think you will find it is a wonderful warm dessert for cold winter evenings.

I am sharing with you a reduced fat and sugar adaption of the original recipe by chef Paul Cunningham.  You can definitely increase the butter and honey to taste (do so in equal proportions up to 1/4 cup each). But I found that even using a small amount of butter and honey created a sufficient sauce to brown and baste the pears giving them a wonderful sticky texture and flavor.  Steve and I eat a health conscious diet although baking is an indulgence I usually don't skip the ingredients on.  But when I see a dessert recipe that looks easy to adapt to reduce the fat and sugar content I do. As you can see from the finished pictures these pears browned up and caramelized beautifully and with this version you won't break the calorie or cholesterol bank.

Honey and Butter Baked Pears 

Ingredients ~ 4 servings

4 Bosc Pears, peeled, halved, cored (leaving stem intact)
1 1/2 Tbs. unsalted butter - shaved and/or diced
1 1/2 Tbs. honey (for baking I typically use Turkish honey sold by Trader Joe. I find it similar in flavor to Tupelo honey)
2 to 3 fresh thyme sprigs
fresh Bay leaf (optional - I did not use any bay leaf)
maldon sea salt flakes or kosher salt
optional garnish: heavy cream, chilled creme fraiche, or vanilla ice cream


1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

2.  Line roasting pan with parchment paper or silpat.  Arrange pears cut side up in a single layer on pan.  Evenly sprinkle top of pear halves with shaved butter and season lightly with crushed salt flakes. Scatter fresh thyme and bay leaf (optional) over pears and drizzle with honey.

3.  Bake pears, gently turning every 15 minutes to coat in butter and honey until tender and caramelized, for approximately 1 hour.  Transfer to warmed serving dish, drizzle with any pan juices, and serve warm with a jug of heavy cream, creme fraiche, scoop of vanilla ice cream or, for family style, serve plain.

Adapted from Chef Paul Cunningham's recipe in Saveur magazine using Anjou pears.

Super Soft Kidsilk Haze Scarf

I am a huge fan of kidsilk haze and every winter I knit at least one item in this luscious fiber.  It's one of those magical combination that someone somewhere discovered goes really well together.  Like peanut butter and jelly, Ginger Rodgers and Fred Astaire; sunsets and tropical beaches, kidsilk haze is one of those perfect pairings.  It has mohair for loft and warmth and silk for vibrancy and shine that is spun into an amazingly soft and warm lace weight yarn.  It's very addicting to knit with.  Some even call it kidsilk crack.  But knitting with kidsilk haze can be tricky too so I'm going to share with you my tips for knitting with this yarn.

Tips for knitting with kidsilk haze yarn:

1.  Be aware that it's almost impossible to fix a mistake in this yarn because the fibers cling together creating a snarl almost impossible to undo unless you are incredibly patient.  It is possible though, if you slowly undo one stitch at a time.  This is a technique called "tinking" (i.e. knitting spelled backwards).

2.  The yarn strand itself is very thin and it's a little like knitting with a fine thread surrounded by a halo of fibers.  It will be easier for you to pick up this inner yarn strand if you use sharp pointed needles.  Needles that have sharp points are called "lace" needles.

3.  Again, because the inner thread is so fine it is helpful to use a needle color that contrasts with the color of the yarn you are knitting.  This will make it easier to see the thread that you are knitting.

4.  Don't give up. Once you get the hang of knitting with this fiber you will be addicted too!  In a good way.

5.  This last tip is a late addition and comes courtesy of Selma who writes the blog Knitting New England (she's a great writer and knitter and I hope you watch for her posts updates on my sidebar)! Selma's tips is to place your knitting into a plastic bag and freeze it for a couple of hours.  Apparently mohair has a fairly high water content and freezing it helps the fibers unstick.

There you have it.  Now go forth and try Kidsilk haze yarn fearlessly.

Scarf Particulars:  Kidsilk Haze Stripe Scarf (in Kaffe Fassett selected colors); free pattern download on Rowan's website; designed by Marie Wallin; 1 skein Rowan Kidsilk Haze Stripe (460 yrds); US 8 needles.  I simply knit until I ran out of yarn (these skeins are very large - double a typical kidsilk haze skein) and my finished scarf measures: 68" x 10."  Some of my past kidsilk haze projects include: The Fleur Wrap; Trieste Shawl; Willowy ScarfAnisette Stole, Birch Shawl; and the Dove Shawl.

Until next time be well and love well and during this stressful holiday season slow down and enjoy simple pleasures such as easy baked pears or knitting a simple and soothing stockinette scarf.

I leave you with the beautiful music Hallelujah, composed and sung by Leonard Cohen a wonderful soul who will be greatly missed.  R.I.P. Leonard Cohen.


Anonymous said...

Those pears look scrumptious. I think I'll pick up up a few on my way home today along with the rest of the ingredients. Thanks, Claudia, and Happy Thanksgiving. Chloe

Claudia Bugh said...

I hope you enjoy them Chloe :) It also occurred to me that these might be nice with an after dinner glass of port wine....

smw said...

Hi Claudia,
Here's a tip that often works if you have to frog knitted mohair. Put your knitting in a plastic bag and stick it in the freezer for a few hours. Mohair yarn is clingy because it has a relatively high water content, and if you freeze it, the fibers unstick.

Best wishes,

Claudia Bugh said...

Thank you for sharing your tip Selma!!! I'm adding it the list in the blog post so others can see it too :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Claudia, I made it yesterday and my husband ate the whole thing (minus one little ol' pear for me.) We did not have the port (we had them for lunch) but I personally think it's a great idea! Chloe.

Claudia Bugh said...

Chloe, the good news these are easy to make and another time you can pop another pear or two in the pan! lol I'm very happy to hear he liked them :)