Serves 4
  • 4 not-quite-ripe pears such as Comice, Seckel or Bartlett, halved, peeled and cored or not
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, split
  • Butter
1. Preheat oven to 400 F.

2. Arrange pears, cut side down, in a baking dish. Drizzle with fresh lemon juice. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean with the tip of a sharp knife then mix the seeds with some granulated sugar (a cup or so; any leftover sugar can be stored, tightly covered, and used in other desserts). Dust the pears liberally with the vanilla sugar. Dot with butter.

3. Roast the pears until caramelized, turning them over half way through baking. If desired, just before serving, drizzle a few drops of fine aged balsamic vinegar on the pears.
Adapted from The Improvisational Cook by Sally Schneider (William Morrow, an Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, 2006). Copyright 2006 by Sally Schneider.