When you reach to pull this dish out of the oven, dark brown juices bubbling and thick around softened, caramelized fruit, prepare yourself:
What you will smell will be as good as crisp, cold air in the fall cut with the musty crunch of leaves beneath your feet, or fresh pine needles in December.
After you let it cool for a bit, and you scoop some into a bowl, pouring that still-warm, coppery sauce all over, faint hints of steam escaping as you blow on a spoonful heading towards your lips, even that will still be topped by the unbelievable taste to come.
It’s a sensation at once devastatingly sweet and slightly tart, with a subtle touch of lemon cutting through a deep, dark sugar glaze.
This homemade dessert is pure decadence. And by that, I mean it is the shining moment of the meal, the happy climax.
Similar to baked apples, these roasted seasonal pome fruits are both simple and satisfying. The addition of the lemon and cinnamon sticks is a nod to the spiced cider common at this time of year, and when combined with the caramel sauce, oh baby! This easy dessert is knock-your-socks-off good.
Try it on its own, warm out of the oven, or with a scoop of homemade vanilla ice cream. Eat it slowly, and enjoy every bite.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about shining moments, and how they change as we grow older.
The joy and rapture I once felt on the first day of summer vacation has gradually given way to the deep peace and satisfaction that I experience now, sitting around a table with passionate people that I just met for the first time, but with whom I’ve found that instant connection that I recognize as the sign of a lasting friendship to come.
I know my ability to appreciate these shining moments would not be possible without the lack of them, that if life were all caramelized pears and apples, with no burned bok choy or crispy cookies in between, that it would be harder to see the goodness in them.
These are some of the sweetest things there are in life – the shining moments – and they are worth savoring.
We can’t have them all the time, or we’d lose sight of how delicious and precious they are. But when apples and pears are in season, when you have something to celebrate and it’s time to make a special meal, when it’s been a while and you need a break to relax and enjoy the simple pleasures in life, those are the times when I think maybe this is what all of those other moments have been leading up to.Print
With the perfect balance of sweetness and spice, these simple citrus caramel roasted apples and pears are sure to please. Best served warm with ice cream.
- 3 firm Bosc pears, cored and halved
- 3 Fuji or McIntosh apples, cored and halved
- 1 stick unsalted butter, softened (12 tablespoons)
- 1 1/2 cups packed dark brown sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon flaked sea salt
- Zest of one lemon (about 1 tbsp)
- Juice of 1/2 lemon (about 1 tbsp)
- 3 tablespoons whole cloves
- 4 cinnamon sticks
- Adjust oven rack to center and preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Add butter to a large baking dish, one that is large enough to fit all the pear and apple halves, while the oven is heating.
- Once the butter is melted, remove from the oven. Top with sugar, ground cinnamon, sea salt, and lemon zest. Whisk the mixture to combine.
- Add fruit cut side down on top of the sugar-butter mixture and drizzle with lemon juice.
- Add cinnamon sticks and cloves to the sauce in the pan.
- Bake for 30 minutes, until the caramel sauce has deepened in color, thickened, and is bubbling.
- Remove cinnamon sticks and cloves, and discard. Remove pan from the oven and turn fruit to coat with the sauce.
- Let cool slightly before serving. Slice the fruit, if you like, so everyone can enjoy both apples and pears. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream on top.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 40 minutes
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Baking, Roasting
- Cuisine: Fall
Keywords: apple, pear, caramel, citrus, cinnamon, cloves
Cooking By the Numbers…
Step 1 – Preheat the Oven and Prepare the Fruit
Measure out all of your ingredients, according to the ingredients list.
Adjust your oven rack to the center position and preheat the oven to 375°F.
With a sharp knife, cut the pears and apples in half lengthwise.
Remove the hard cores and seeds by cutting a teardrop shape in the pear halves, and a circle-shaped well in the center of the apples. A melon baller can come in handy for this.
Step 2 – Melt Butter
Add the butter to a large baking pan. The baking pan should be large enough to fit all of the fruit halves.
I used a metal baking pan that was 9-by-13 inches. But you can also use glass or a ceramic baking dish, if that’s what you have handy. Keep in mind that the caramel may brown at a slightly different rate if you cook with a different type of pan, so keep an eye on your dish when it’s in the oven.
Place the baking pan in the oven while it is heating. Remove the pan from oven once the butter has melted, about 1-2 minutes.
Set a timer, keep an eye on the butter while you do this, and don’t forget about it! For this recipe, you don’t want the butter to brown or burn, and this can happen quickly in a hot oven.
Step 3 – Make the Sauce
Add the brown sugar, ground cinnamon, sea salt, and lemon zest.
Whisk briefly to combine.
Step 4 – Assemble
Arrange the fruit in the baking dish cut-side down on top of the sugar-butter mixture. Drizzle with lemon juice.
Add cinnamon sticks and cloves to the pan.
Step 5 – Roast
Bake for 30 minutes. The caramel sauce should be thick and bubbling, and you should be able to pierce the fruit easily with a paring knife.
Remove cinnamon sticks and cloves, and discard them. Turn the fruit in the pan to coat it with the sauce. You can also use a pastry brush to baste the fruit if you prefer.
Let cool slightly before serving. If you like, you can also slice up the fruit and give it one final gentle toss with the sauce before plating.
Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.
Something to Be Savored
This recipe is proof that all you need are a few simple ingredients to make a fantastic dessert.
Not overly sweet, perfectly balanced, and excellent all year round, this recipe will never steer you wrong. I find it’s particularly perfect when you need a simple delight to look forward to at the end of a long day, when it’s cold outside.
The hints of cinnamon along with the sweet notes of caramel truly are the stars.
Did you like this roasted fruit recipe? Give these other recipes that are perfect for fall a shot next!
- Light and Buttery Nut Flour Crepes with Roasted Fruit
- Caramelized Apples and Onions
- Maple Pear Crostini
- Ricotta and Pear Stacks
What sweet moments in life do you savor the most? When will you serve this dessert to family and friends? Let us know in the comments below! And don’t forget to leave a rating after you’ve tried it, so other readers will know how much you enjoyed it.
Photos by Meghan Yager, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on December 18, 2009. Last updated: October 8, 2020 at 9:51 am. With additional writing and editing by Allison Sidhu, Meghan Yager, and Blaire Wikoff.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Shanna Mallon
Shanna Mallon is a freelance writer who holds an MA in writing from DePaul University. Her work has been featured in a variety of media outlets, including The Kitchn, Better Homes & Gardens, Taste of Home, Houzz.com, Foodista, Entrepreneur, and Ragan PR. In 2014, she co-authored The Einkorn Cookbook with her husband, Tim. Today, you can find her digging into food topics and celebrating the everyday grace of eating on her blog, Go Eat Your Bread with Joy. Shanna lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with Tim and their two small kids.