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Susan and Ted Axelrod

Susan and Ted are a writer and photographer team who met while working for a magazine — Susan reviewing restaurants and writing food features, Ted photographing them. When Ted left the magazine for a freelance career, they launched their blog, Spoon & Shutter in 2010 as a way to keep doing what they love, together. After many years in Northern New Jersey, they are thrilled to be living in Maine, where Ted's clients occasionally include restaurants and food businesses. When they're not working, cooking, rehabbing their old farmhouse or hanging out with their two cool dogs – Ella and Dixie – they're having a blast exploring this spectacular state. To reach Susan, email saxelrod [at] mainetoday.com or follow her on Twitter: @susansaxelrod To reach Ted, email ted [at] axelrodphotography.com or follow him on Twitter @TedAxelRodPhoto .

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Spoon & Shutter with Susan and Ted Axelrod
Posted: February 25, 2014

Honey-spice roasted pears

The finished pears.

All photos by Susan Axelrod

In the market, pears rarely grab my attention. For a mid-afternoon snack to eat out-of-hand, it’s easy to pass them by in favor of apples or citrus fruit. Part of the problem, I think, is that pears almost always need to ripen before you can eat them, and once they are ripe, you have to eat them in short order before they become a spotted, soggy mess.

Pears perfect for roasting.

For roasted pears, however, you want the fruit to be super ripe, to give its natural sugar a head start on the caramelizing that happens in the oven. Slathered with honey and spices, then baked “low and slow,” they become deliciously soft, with just the right amount of sweetness.

If you can turn on the oven and use a knife, you can make roasted pears. (Impress your friends!) Just know going in that although they’re quick to throw together, they take an hour to bake.

This simple recipe came to me by way of my fabulous mother-in-law, Joan, who we are hoping will someday join us to live in Maine. Joan was seeking out, preparing and eating organic food long before most of the rest of the country and her cooking always makes use of what’s in season. In the fall and winter, a bowl of roasted pears is usually sitting on her kitchen counter, ready to be eaten for breakfast with plain Greek yogurt or as a healthy dessert.

You could also serve the roasted pears with pound cake and vanilla ice cream or as I did this morning, cut into rough chunks as a topping for oatmeal.

Honey-Spice Roasted Pears

Serves 4

4 very ripe pears (Joan generally uses Anjou; here, I used Bartlett)
2 tablespoons good-quality honey
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Preheat the oven to 325 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Cut the pears in half lengthwise; remove the cores and stems

Combine the spices in a small bowl.

Rub the pear halves with honey and spices; place cut side up on the prepared baking sheet.

Bake for an hour, or until pears are softened and browned and the edges of the skin starts to curl.

A teaspoon works beautifully for coring the pears (left). Maine honey and the spice mixture.

The pears ready for the oven.

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