Brandy Pears with Almond Crunch

I just received a box of pears as a gift and was lucky to discover this decadent dessert before I ate them all. This elegant recipe is deceptively simple to make and very delicious.

Almond Topping

1 large egg white
3 tablespoons sugar
3/4 cup sliced almonds with skins
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons water
3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 Bosc pears
2 tablespoons brandy
To begin make the almond topping. In a medium sized bowl whisk together egg white, vanilla and sugar. To this mixture add the almond slices. Stir until the almonds are well coated.

Butter a cookie sheet. Spread the coated almonds in a thin, even layer on the cookie sheet.

Bake in a pre-heated 350 degree F oven until crisp and golden, about 15 to 20 minutes. Be sure they are well toasted because it is very difficult to remove them from the cookie sheet if they are under cooked.

Remove the almonds from the oven and allow to cool.

Break topping apart with the back of a wooden spoon and scrape off the cookie sheet with a metal spatula. Set aside.

Now you are ready to make the syrup to go over the pears. To create the syrup, melt the butter in a small saucepan over a medium heat. Add the brown sugar, water, cinnamon and cardamom and stir until sugar is dissolved.

Split each pear in half (do not peel)and remove the seeds with a melon ball scoop and place the pear halves in an 8 inch baking pan. Drizzle pears with syrup and turn until well coated.

Place the pears in a pre-heated 425 degree F oven and roast, turning once, for about 25 minutes. The pears will be tender and the syrup will be caramelized when done.

Remove the pears from the baking pan using a slotted spoon and place each half on a plate. Add brandy to the pan juices and stir until well combined.

Add a scoop vanilla ice cream to the plates then drizzle the pears and the ice cream with the syrup. Top with toasted almonds.
Recipe from P. Allen Smith