Shauna Sever ( http://shaunasever.com ): This is a sweet treat that's actually friendly to your waistline. The trick here is fresh vanilla bean. Vanilla is a great low calorie, rich tasting ingredient that will leaving you feeling like you've enjoyed a decadent creamy treat but without the need to hit the treadmill afterwards. The other great part about this recipe is that you can substitute a variety of fruit!
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⅓ cup (65 g) granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1 teaspoon (5 mL) grated lemon zest
2 medium Bosc pears, peeled, halved and cored
2 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled, quartered and cored
2 Fuyu persimmons, tops cut off and quartered
1 tablespoon (15 mL) fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon (15 mL) unsalted butter, cut into small bits
Position a rack to the center of the oven and preheat it to 375°F (190°C).
Place the sugar in a small bowl. With a sharp knife, split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape the seeds into the sugar (reserve the vanilla pod).
Work the sugar, vanilla seeds, and lemon zest together with your fingertips until the sugar is fragrant and moist-looking.
Peel the pears, cut them in half lengthwise, and remove the cores. Arrange the pears in a 9x13-inch (23 x 33 cm) baking dish, cut-side up.
Drizzle them with the lemon juice and sprinkle on the sugar. Dot the butter bits all over the fruit.
Add the vanilla pod and 2 tablespoons (30 mL) of water to the dish.
Roast for 30 minutes, spooning the pan juices over the fruit occasionally. Turn the fruit and continue to roast, basting once or twice, until tender, 15 to 20 minutes more.
Serve straight up, or with a bit of ice cream, yogurt, or crème fraiche.
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