- 1/2 vanilla bean
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 large, firm, but not under-ripe pears (Bosc or Bartlett work well)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 dried Black Mission figs (soft enough that they can be thinly sliced)
- Split vanilla bean lengthwise and to a small saucepan, extract the seeds from both sides by scraping with a paring knife.
- Add the remaining part of the bean, and cover with 1/4 cup sugar and 3/4 cup water. Bring to a boil, allowing sugar to dissolve, and then simmer for 10-15 minutes.
- You will be left with a nicely perfumed simple syrup, strain or remove large pieces of vanilla pod and set aside.
- Peel pears and halve lengthwise, leaving stems attached.
- Remove core, and with a sharp knife, remove a thin layer from the rounded part of the pear, allowing it to sit flatly on a plate.
- In a sauté pan over medium heat, melt butter, add brown sugar and stir until melted.
- Place pears, cored side down, into pan and cook until brown, keeping them moving a little, to prevent sticking. Turn pears and cook their back for a couple of minutes as well.
- Transfer individually to a baking dish, and pour vanilla syrup over each pear as to as to coat the flesh.
- Add a couple slices of fig to each pear center and then spoon a little syrup over the figs.
- Bake until golden and tender, about 25 minutes, serve.
- If you are left with extra syrup, it works well as an addition to iced drinks like lemonade.
many thanks to Almost a Chef