A medley of fresh fall fruit — pears, grapes and figs — looks splendid on the table and is lovely served as a fruit salad. But roasted together, married with a sweet-tangy glaze, it rises to another level of beauty and lusciousness entirely. The heat of the oven softens and warms the fruit, making it juicier and deepening the flavors, while giving it a true comfort-food allure.
It also concentrates and caramelizes the mixture of balsamic vinegar, honey and ginger, used for coating the fruit, ultimately resulting in a glorious glaze that not only adds a layer of exciting flavor, tying the different fruits together, but also gives the dish a beautiful, painterly patina.
It is a stunning, satisfying and healthful autumnal dessert or brunch dish, served either on its own or with a dollop of creamy yogurt. Feel free to substitute small, pitted plums if you can’t get your hands on fresh figs, and be sure to use a thick, syrupy aged balsamic vinegar, rather than the more acidic kind you might use in a salad dressing.
Cooking oil spray or olive oil, for the pan
2 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger root
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt, or more as needed
3 firm, ripe pears, unpeeled
2 cups red grapes, sliced lengthwise
8 fresh figs, preferably Black Mission, stemmed and halved lengthwise
Greek yogurt (full- or low-fat), for serving (optional)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees with the rack in the middle. Spray or brush a rimmed baking sheet with oil.
In a large bowl, stir together the balsamic vinegar, honey, ginger and salt to combine. Taste and season with more salt, if needed. Transfer 1 tablespoon of the mixture to a smaller bowl.
Quarter the pears lengthwise, then using a melon baller or small spoon, scoop the core out of each piece. Leave the stems intact if you’d like. Place the pears and grapes in the bowl with the balsamic mixture and toss to coat, then transfer them to the baking sheet and roast for 10 minutes.
Toss the figs with the reserved glaze in the smaller bowl. Remove the sheet from the oven and give the pears and grapes a gentle toss. Turn the pears, so that they are cut-side down, if they are not already. Add the figs to the sheet and return to the oven until the fruit has softened but retains its shape and the glaze has begun to caramelize, 10 to 15 minutes more.
Let cool slightly before serving as is, or with a dollop of Greek yogurt.
From nutritionist and cookbook author Ellie Krieger.
Tested by Olga Massov.
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Calories: 130; Total Fat: 0 g; Saturated Fat: 0 g; Cholesterol: 0 mg; Sodium: 25 mg; Carbohydrates: 35 g; Dietary Fiber: 5 g; Sugars: 29 g; Protein: 1 g.