This is a very rich and elegant but fall-off-the-chair easy to prepare dish. They key is to cook the pears until the sugar browns. Serve a pear per person topped with a the sauce. At first, the amount of powdered sugar may seem excessive but its is needed in order to form the resulting caramel sauce. Pears are one of the few fruits that sweeten and ripen after they are picked, turning their texture from dry and gritty to juicy and smooth. Buy the fruit ahead, allowing the hard pears to ripen 2 days.
Preheat oven to 400 F.
4 Firm Bosc pears
¾ Cup powdered sugar
3 Tablespoon cold butter, cut up to small pieces
½ Cup heavy cream, heated
Sprigs of mint for garnish
Peel, and half pears. Remove core with a spoon or melon baller. Using a very sharp knife tip, v-cut the woody stem and remove. Place in buttered glass Pyrex baking dish just big enough to hold pears flat and dome side up. Sprinkle with plenty of powdered sugar, dot with butter. Bake in 400 F oven for 40 minutes or until soft and sugar is dark brown. Half way through, baste the butter over the top as the pears. Add hot cream1 and cook another 10 minutes.
Garnish with a sprig of mint.
1. I heat the cream in a Pyrex measuring cup in the microwave until it just begins to boil.
2. If using sweet butter, add a shake of salt to help bring out the flavor of the pears.