The salt crust encasing these pears — a method most often used with whole fish and some poultry — does what salt always does: It amplifies. In this instance, the sweet, juicy peary-ness of the pear. Ideally, these should be slipped into the oven after pulling out another dish in order to minimize time in the kitchen. As a dinner party dessert, it’s a perfect punctuation mark.
- Serves: 8 persons
- 12egg whites
- 1box Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- 8Bosc pears, ripe but still firm, with stems intact
Step 1Preheat oven to 275.
Step 2In a large mixing bowl, whisk the egg whites until frothy and tripled in volume.
Step 3Stir in kosher salt, and mix well with a stiff whisk until slightly clumpy.
Step 4When too difficult to whisk, use your hands to blend the salt mixture until it becomes uniformly wet, heavy and slightly sticky. In other words, like the worst snow-shoveling day of your life.
Step 5With a sharp knife, trim a sliver, as needed, from the bottom of each pear so they stand upright on their own.
Step 6Pack the salt mixture around each whole pear, including the bottom, to create a thin and even encasement.
Step 7Gently place the pears on a lined baking sheet and bake until golden, about 45 minutes. Use a cake tester to test for doneness, piercing through the very top of the pear at the stem. We like the pears a little al dente — cooked through but with some tooth. We don’t want applesauce.
Step 8Pears can be held warm in the oven at the lowest possible setting until ready to serve.
Step 9To serve, crack the salt crust and discard. Take care to brush off any clinging salt with a clean dish towel, and serve the roasted pear with wet black walnuts (see recipe).