Saturday, January 10, 2009

Roasted Pears with Hazlenut Syrup and Candied Hazelnuts (Page 809)


  • Date: Monday, December 29, 2008 -- 7pm
  • Location: Westerville, OH
  • Kitchen: Karen and Dave's House
  • Dining Companions: Matty, Karen H, Dave, Wes, Brad, and Deniz
  • Recipe Rating: B+

At some point, a while back, I had cooked a much higher percentage of recipes from the Fruit Desserts section of The Book than from any other section. So I stopped cooking from it for a while. Now, several of the other dessert sections have caught up and surpassed the Fruit Desserts section, so I returned to it with this recipe. I started by making the candied hazelnuts. I boiled sugar water, then stirred in toasted, skinned, and chopped hazelnuts. I then transfered the nuts with a slotted spoon to a baking sheet (reserving the cooking syrup for later) and baked the nuts for 15 minutes, then tossed them with a bit of butter and set them aside. I took a thin slice off the bottom of each Bosc pear so it would stand up, then dipped each pear in the reserved syrup. I stood them up in a buttered casserole dish, then sprinkled them with sugar. I poured the reserved syrup, along with Cognac, lemon juice, and vanilla into the casserole, then baked the dish, uncovered until the pears were tender. I served the pears with the syrup they cooked in and the candied nuts. This dish was pretty good. The pears came out tender, with just a bit of sweetness from the sugar coating. The candied hazelnuts were very delicious. The syrup was also tasty, with a nice Cognac and vanilla flavor, but in my opinion it was a bit too sweet. In combination with the sugared pears and the candied nuts, the whole thing was a little sweet for me. I think just a touch more lemon juice in the syrup would have provided enough contrast to balance it out a bit. That said, it was very tasty, and everyone at the table seemed to enjoy eating it. For a simple fruit dessert, this recipe was not bad at all.

The recipe in The Book is the same as this one, except the one in The Book calls for Cognac rather than hazelnut liqueur.

It's that time again -- the start of the semester is rapidly approaching! Classes start on Monday, so this weekend is the last period of relative calm before things start getting crazy again! This semester is going to be very different than my previous 3 semesters as a post-doc. Every semester so far I have had between 80 and 150 students, all of them undergraduates taking introductory courses. This semester instead of having 150 students, I will have 11 students. Graduate students. This, I expect, will be an extremely different experience!

I do really like teaching undergraduates, but big undergrad classes have a lot of administrative things associated with them that aren't that fun. Also, there tend to be cases of students cheating, which really upsets me. A small graduate class will presumably have neither the administrative hassles, nor the cheating problems! Plus, I will be teaching to a room full of students who like and excel at math, and are interested in an area of math that I think is really cool! I suspect it will be fun. I am always a little nervous before doing something new for the first time, and this is no exception. I feel confident teaching big undergraduate courses, but I have never taught graduate students before. I am sure it will be totally fine, but at this point I feel a bit apprehensive. Hopefully my first lecture on Monday will go well!

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