For almond crunch
1 large egg white
3 tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sliced almonds (preferably with skins; 2 3/4 oz)
3 firm Bosc pears (1 1/2 lb total)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons Amaretto or other almond-flavored liqueur
1/2 cup water
Special equipment: parchment paper;
a melon-ball cutter (optional)
Accompaniment: mascarpone cheese
Make almond crunch:
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F.
Line a baking sheet with parchment.
Whisk together egg white, sugar, and
salt until sugar is completely dissolved, then add almonds, stirring until
coated. Spread mixture in a very thin layer on parchment-lined sheet, spreading
almonds away from center of pan.
Bake until deep golden, 15 to 25
minutes. Cool on baking sheet on a rack, then break into pieces.
Increase oven temperature to 425°F.
Halve pears lengthwise and core with
melon-ball cutter or a paring knife.
Spread 1 tablespoon butter on bottom
of an 8-inch square glass baking dish and sprinkle with 1/4 cup sugar.
Arrange pears, cut sides up, on
sugar, then dot pears with remaining tablespoon butter. Sprinkle remaining
tablespoon sugar over pears, then drizzle with 1 tablespoon Amaretto.
Roast pears, uncovered, until barely
tender, about 25 minutes (sugar will harden on bottom).
Add water, a pinch of salt, and
remaining 2 tablespoons Amaretto to baking dish and stir (around pears) until
sugar is dissolved, then baste pears with pan juices.
Roast pears, basting twice with pan
juices, until tender, about 15 minutes more.
Serve pears, warm or at room
temperature, drizzled with pan juices and topped with almond crunch.
• Pears, without almond crunch, can be roasted 1 day ahead and cooled
completely, then chilled, covered (pears may discolor slightly). Reheat in a
preheated 350°F oven, basting once with pan juices, 10 minutes.
• Almond crunch can be made 4 days ahead and kept in an airtight container at
Makes 6 servings.