Baked Vanilla Pears with Figs
Look for dried figs that are soft and moist.
- 1 vanilla bean
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
- 3 firm Bartlett pears
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 dried Black Mission figs
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Split vanilla bean lengthwise, and set one half aside. Scrape seeds from other half into a small saucepan, and add the pod, 1/4 cup sugar, and 3/4 cup water. Bring to a boil, then simmer 10 minutes to infuse vanilla flavor into syrup. Strain, and set aside.
Peel pears, and cut in half lengthwise, leaving stems on. Cut out core, scooping out a little extra flesh. Trim off a little flesh on round side so that halves will lie nicely on a plate.
In a large saute pan over medium heat, melt butter. Add remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, and stir until melted. Add pears, cut side down, and cook until brown, shaking pan occasionally. Turn over, and cook a few minutes more. Transfer to a baking dish, and pour vanilla syrup over pears. Add other half of vanilla bean. Slice figs lengthwise, and put one or two slices in center of each pear. Spoon a little syrup over figs, and bake until soft and tender, about 30 minutes, depending on ripeness of pears. Serve hot or warm.