Asian Pears with Star Anise Baked in Parchment

Parchment cooking is fruitful not only for savories but also for sweets. Here, applelike Asian pears, loaded with potassium, are honey-drizzled, vermouth-splashed, and star-anise-infused. Serve after dinner for a sugar-and-spice ending.

  • Servings: 4
Asian Pears with Star Anise Baked in Parchment

Photography: Hans Gissinger

Source: Martha Stewart Living, January 2005

Ingredients

  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 Asian pears
  • 4 whole star anise pods
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup dry vermouth, dry white wine, cider, or water

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut 4 pieces of parchment paper to measure 12 square inches each. Juice lemon into a small bowl. Halve each pear horizontally. Dip cut sides of pear in lemon juice (to prevent browning). Using a melon baller, remove core from each half.

  2. Place 1 star anise in cored center of each pear. Drizzle 1 tablespoon honey over each star anise.

  3. Place a pear half, cut side up, on each piece of paper. Working with one piece at a time, hold pear half in paper in the palm of your hand; gather edges of paper around fruit with your free hand. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet.

  4. Pour 1 tablespoon vermouth into pear half in parchment. Twist paper tightly around top of each fruit to seal. Bake 45 minutes; pears should be tender. Transfer packets to shallow bowls. Serve immediately, opening packets at the table.

Cook's Notes

This recipe is versatile. You can use any firm-flesh pears or apples -- or a combination; just be sure the size of the fruits you use is uniform. You can also try another dry whole spice (such as cinnamon or cloves) in place of the star anise.

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