Dessert at the end of a meal for two, in low light, in front of a fireplace, is more than romantic. The whole scene is an aphrodisiac. But what if the love of your life, your sweetie, won't eat sweets? My husband David swore off sugar 40 years ago when he turned 18. I've never known him to eat a sliver of cake, a spoonful of ice cream, a doughnut hole--nothing. Perhaps you know someone who prefers a non-sugary dessert? While watching Ina Garten's show, Barefoot Contessa, on Food Network, I was inspired by her recipe for Roasted Pears with Blue Cheese. Here was a recipe with mostly fresh fruit and juice, dried fruit, a bit of wine, nuts and cheese. There is brown sugar in Ina's recipe but I knew I could omit the sugar and replace it with another fruit-compatible cheese and a bit of agave nectar, a low-glycemic sweetener from the Blue Agave plant.
Here's my version of the recipe, which I plan to serve to my husband on Valentine's Day. The mascarpone cream part of the recipe contains sugar, but you can omit it or serve it on the side. (But I want my sugar high, so I'll be eating mine with the cream.) I think my hubby will like this dessert. If you make this dessert on Valentine's Day, then I hope you and your sweetie like it too!
Roasted Pears with Cherries & Walnuts
3 good quality, firm Bosc pears
2 lemons, freshly squeezed
4 ounces crumbled Wensleydale cheese (with cranberries)
2 tablespoons agave nectar, maple flavor
1 cup dried cherries
1/4 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
1 cup apple cider
3 tablespoons red Zinfandel wine
- Lightly spray the bottom of a 9x9x2-inch baking pan with butter-flavored no-stick cooking spray. Peel the pears, cut them in half, and use a melon baller to scoop out the core and seeds. Slice a thin piece from the bottom of each pear half so that each one will sit flat in the baking dish. Squeeze juice from lemons on pears to prevent pears from browning.
- Crumble cheese in a small bowl. Add the agave nectar, dried cherries, walnut, apple cider, and wine. Gently mix these ingredients and spoon over the pears, especially in the hollowed areas of the pears.
- Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil; bake the pears in a 375-degree oven for 35 minutes. After 15 minutes, remove the pears and spoon the liquid in the bottom of the baking pan over the pears. Return pears to the oven for the remaining 20 minutes.
- Let the pears cool for a few minutes before serving. Serve the mascarpone cream on the side or omit it.
Mascarpone Cream (Optional)
2 tablespoons mascarpone
1/2 Meyer lemon, freshly squeezed
2 tablespoons unbleached sugar or light-brown sugar
- Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until sugar is dissolved.
- Spoon over warm roasted pears or serve on the side (if you sweetie doesn't want the sweets).