Baked Pears with Butterscotch Sauce
4 ripe but firm pears
3 oz. (6 Tbs.) butter, cut into pieces
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbs. Scotch whisky (optional)
- Heat the oven to 375°F.
- Cut pears in half lengthwise and, using a melon baller or spoon, scoop out the cores.
- Rub them all over with the lemon half to prevent browning.
- In a large (10-inch), heavy-based, ovenproof skillet, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the sugar and brown sugar and stir to dissolve.
- Arrange the pears in the pan, cut side down, in a single layer.
- Bake the pears uncovered, basting occasionally with the liquid in the pan, until they begin to soften and color slightly. Depending on the pears’ ripeness, baking time can range from 20 minutes to 1 hour (mine only took about 25 minutes).
- Remove the pears with a slotted spoon and set aside.
- Transfer the pan to a burner and boil the mixture left behind over medium-high heat until it reaches a rich, golden-brown color and smells like caramel, 2 to 5 minutes. Slowly whisk the cream into the caramel until smooth. Add the vanilla, salt, and Scotch, if using. Serve the sauce over the warm pears.