The first time I saw pears roasted in the oven this way was in France at L’Esperance, a three star restaurant in Vézelay. The pastry chefs basted the roasting pears with caramelizing sugar and butter until they turned the most beautiful color. With the addition of some heavy cream you can make a wonderful sauce right in the roasting pan. I used Anjou pears but Bartlett pears would also be good.
4 Anjou or Bartlett pears, soft, not overly ripe
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup heavy cream
Heat the oven to 375°. Peel, cut a small slice off the bottom(so pear can stand straight up) and core the pears. Use a small melon baller, it takes about 3 scoops to remove the stems and seeds.
Place the pears in an 8″ ovenproof skillet. Sprinkle with sugar and dot with the butter. Roast the pears, basting them about every 10 minutes, until they become soft and caramel colored. This takes about 1 hour and 20-30 minutes, I turn the oven down to 350° around half way through the process. The fruit juices and sugar will caramelize in the pan.
Transfer the pears to a plate and set the skillet on the stove over medium-high heat. Add the cream and stir until the caramel in the pan forms a smooth sauce.