Succulent pears work famously well as finger foods, but the summery fruit also lends itself to dishes ranging from tarts and chutney to salads and relish. Sweet baked pears also serve as a light dessert or side dish for savory meat dishes, such as roasted duck or peppered pork, but they take some patience -- pears require about an hour in the oven to roast properly. The microwave offers a quicker alternative that retains the flavor of baked pears without the time commitment.
Run a ripe, whole pear under cold water for about 15 to 20 seconds to clean it. As the water washes over the pear, scrub the entire surface of the fruit with a soft-bristled brush.
Place the pear on a clean cutting board and slice it in half lengthwise with a sharp paring knife. Remove the fruit's core with a corer or scoop it out with a melon baller. You can peel the pear or leave the skin on, according to your preference.
Season and flavor the pear with the ingredients of your choice. For a classically sweet baked pear flavor, fill the pear's hollowed core with butter and brown sugar. For a richer effect and additional texture, add dried cranberries, walnuts, pecans, oats or granola to the cores. To bolster the flavor, sprinkle the pear with cinnamon, ginger, cane sugar or nutmeg. Add a shallow layer of apple juice, lemon juice, cranberry juice or Riesling -- or a combination of them -- to the dish for an even more complex flavor and added tenderness.
Place the pear in a microwave-safe dish with the fleshy side facing up, then cover the dish. Set your microwave to its "high" setting and microwave for about 3 to 5 minutes, or until the pear is tender. If you microwave the pear in juices, drizzle the juices over the pear after it has cooked. Allow the pear to cool for about 5 minutes before serving.
Things You'll Need
Corer or melon baller
Microwaveable baking dish with cover
Seasoning and flavoring ingredients