Summer fruits are bursting with sweet juiciness when they are at their ripest, which makes them best eaten fresh off the tree and tossed into our favorite salads. But we so often forget about roasting our fruit like we would our vegetables. Roasting fruits such as cherries, pears and even apples intensifies the flavors by concentrating their juices and caramelizing the natural sugars. Once roasted, we can use our fruit in both savory and sweet dishes to showcase it at it’s peak, and show off our culinary prowess as well. Here is a quick guide on how to roast cherries, apples and pears:
Cherries – many chefs claim that the pit intensifies the cherry flavor when cherries are roasted whole, and also makes the pit easier to remove. However, if your dish requires neatly sliced cherry halves, then roasting them pitted and halved works just as well.
Combining the cherries with a few tablespoons of sugar creates an intensely flavored cherry syrup when done and leaves the cherries glossy instead of dry.
To roast cherries, combine your cherries with about 2 tablespoons of sugar per pound of cherries, place in a deep baking dish and roast in a preheated 450°F oven for about 40 minutes, or until the juices in the pan are somewhat concentrated but not too dry.
Pears – Pears are a marvelous choice for roasting because they are firm and lower in natural sugars so caramelization happens faster and serves to intensify their delicate flavors. A little bit of fat, such as butter, along with the sugar works well when roasting or baking pears, to prevent drying out and help create a rich caramelized surface.
To roast pears, fill each pear half with a teaspoon of butter and a tablespoon of sugar (brown sugar, maple syrup or honey work well); set in a baking pan cut side up, and roast at 425°F for 30-40 minutes until the pears are tender and nicely browned.
Apples – Apples are similar to pears in that they do best roasted with a little butter – think apple pie! When roasted whole, they hold their shape quite well, making them ideal for stuffed baked apple desserts, but apples can also be roasted in slices for serving over pancakes, ice cream or alongside roasted meats.
To roast apples whole, remove the core and stuff the center with desired filling (mixture of nuts, dried fruit and brown sugar), dot with a teaspoon of butter and place in a baking dish; roast in a preheated 425°F oven for about 30 minutes until the apples are tender. Roasting apples slices is a similar process; combine slices with a few tablespoons of sugar and melted butter, place in a baking dish and roast until the liquid is thick and bubbling and the apples are tender and caramelized.
For some roasting inspiration we have included some of our favorite recipes in our collection. Happy roasting!