These exceptional eats are another gem I adapted from my favorite boring and monotone Contessa, Ina Garten. (Seriously, she seems so lame, yet she hosts fabulous Hamptons soirees. I don't quite understand her! But in any case, her recipes are simply divine.)
I typically serve these as a side dish next to chicken or pork, but they'd be great as part of a salad with peppery arugula, or even as a dessert. Definitely one of J's favorites.
3 firm pears (I've used several varieties, and all have been fine)
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup apple cider or juice (cider is better, if you have it, but juice works fine, too)
1/3 cup lightly packed brown sugar
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Peel the pears and slice them lenthwise into halves. Using a spoon, remove the core and seeds from each pear, making a little well for the filling. Trim a small slice away from the rounded sides of each pear half so they will sit in the baking dish without wobbling. Toss the pears with some lemon juice to prevent them from turning brown. Arrange them, core side up, in a baking dish large enough to hold the pears snugly.
In the same small bowl, combine the apple cider and brown sugar, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Pour the mixture over and around the pears. Bake the pears, basting every ten minutes or so with the cider mixture, for 30 minutes, or until tender. Set aside and serve warm or at room temperature.