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Baesuk (Honey-Steamed Pears)

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Courtesy Caroline Choe
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Ingredients

  • 1 large Asian pear (about 1 pound), rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 2 dried jujubes, pitted and sliced
  • 1 teaspoon pine nuts
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pinch kosher salt
  • 1/2 lemon or orange, juiced (optional)
  • Chef notes

    In addition to being a delicious, sweet treat, these pears are great for whenever one has a cold or is feeling under the weather. They can be eaten hot or cold, but like a fresh-baked cookie, I love eating them hot.

    Technique tip: A stovetop steamer is usually the best way to cook the pears. However, if you don't have one, steaming in the oven works as well.

    Swap options: The touch of citrus is optional, but both it and the pinch of salt are something that helps raise flavors and round out the sweetness. Dried jujubes have many health benefits, but if you have none around, another favorite dried fruit will do.

    Preparation

    1.

    Preheat oven to 375 F.

    2.

    Cut the Asian pear about 1½-inches to the top and reserve the top (it will be a lid for the pear).

    3.

    With a spoon or a melon baller, scoop out the seeds and core, and continue hollowing until about 1/2 inch is left to the insides (try not to hollow it too thin to the borders — you can return some of the broken, scooped parts back into the pear without seeds or tough parts of the core).

    4.

    Fill the inside of the pear with the honey, cinnamon, grated ginger, chopped jujube, pine nuts, black pepper and kosher salt. Place the top back onto the pear.

    5.

    Carefully place the pear into an 8-ounce ramekin or oven-proof bowl, and then transfer the ramekin to a 9-inch baking pan.

    6.

    Fill the baking pan with water until it reaches to about an inch up the sides of the ramekin. Cover the entire top of the baking pan over the ramekin with aluminum foil, making sure to secure it well.

    7.

    Set the pear to bake in the oven for approximately 50 minutes.

    8.

    Take out the pear from the oven and carefully remove the foil from the top of the pan. Transfer the hot ramekin from the watery pan to a safe place to cool and allow the pear to cool for about 20 minutes.

    9.

    Remove the pear lid (with a fork, in case it might still be hot), and serve with a spoon. Squeeze the fresh lemon or orange juice over the pear before eating, if desired.