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Brierley Hill B&B
985 Borden Road
Lexington, VA 24450
Fax: (540) 464-8925
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Peel the pears and halve them vertically. With a melon baller or small spoon, scoop out the hard core of each.
Melt the butter in an 8- to 10-inch ovenproof skillet (or other pan or dish that can go from stovetop to oven) over medium heat. Stir in the brown sugar and salt, then add the pears in a single layer, cut sides down. Spoon some of the butter mixture over the pears.
Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake the pears until soft, 15 to 20 minutes, basting once with the butter mixture while they bake. Remove the pears from the skillet and arrange them on a rimmed platter or in a large shallow bowl. Return the skillet to the stovetop and mix in the cream, vanilla, and, if you wish, the bourbon. Bring to a boil and reduce by about half until very thick, stirring and keeping a close eye on the mixture. Pour the sauce over the pears. Garnish with nuts if you wish and serve warm.
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