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Fast Food My Way: Pear Brown Betty

From Jacques Pépin's Fast Food My Way, a clever idea for using up slightly stale baked goods: mix them with canned pears and turn them into dessert!

If you like bread puddings, you'll probably like this, even though it doesn't have a dairy component. You can make it with nearly any type of bread, cake, croissants, Danish, muffins, or scones. All you need to have on hand is a big can of pears.

I made this with cinnamon-raisin bread, and it was quite tasty. For a variation, try using cookies and make this dessert as a crisp.

Use the smaller amount of butter with richer pastries, such as Danishes or cake. If you're using a leaner baked good, such as bread, use the greater amount of butter.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 to 50 minutes
Yield: 4 to 6 servings

1 can (29-oz.) pear halves in heavy syrup
4 cups (approximately 8 to 10 oz.) coarsely broken pieces of leftover croissants, muffins, scones, Danish pastries, bread, etc.
2 to 4 Tbsp melted butter
1/3 cup golden raisins
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Sour cream, crème fraîche, or vanilla ice cream, optional

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Drain the pears, reserving 1 cup of the syrup. Cut each pear half into 6 pieces. Put the broken pieces of pastry or bread into a large bowl and mix in the pear pieces, reserved syrup, butter, raisins, and cinnamon. Transfer the mixture to a 4 - or 5-cup glass baking dish or gratin dish and bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until bubbling and browned on top. Serve warm or at room temperature with sour cream, crème fraîche, or ice cream.

 

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©2005 Colleen Flippo. All rights reserved. Contact the author.