Poached Vanilla–Scented Pears and Figs/ Pere alla vaniglia con ficchi secchi

This dessert is so elegant and delicious that no one will even realize that it’s good for them! Pears are a great source of dietary fiber, which lowers cholesterol and prevents colon cancer. Ounce per ounce, figs, one of the world’s oldest fruits, contain more nutrients than any other fruit.

4 Bosc pears, peeled
16 dried figs
2 tablespoons (30 ml) lemon juice
2 tablespoons (40 g) honey
1 teaspoon pure vanilla bean paste
or pure vanilla extract
Yield: 4 servings

Slice off the bottoms of the pears so they can stand firmly. Place the pears
and figs in a medium saucepan and cover with water.
Add the lemon juice, honey, and vanilla paste. Bring to a boil over high
heat, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 20 minutes, or until the
pears are tender.
When the pears are cool enough to handle, remove them from the
poaching liquid and stand them upright in the middle of 4 dessert plates.
Drizzle a few tablespoons of cooking liquid over the tops of the pears
and arrange 4 figs around the sides of each plate.
Allow to stand for 5 minutes at room temperature and serve.

Mediterranean Tradition
Getting family and friends involved in preparing meals is a Mediterra-
nean tradition worth copying. In addition to making the work easier
and more pleasurable, the communal aspect of sharing a task is emo-
tionally satisfying. In addition, you’ll be less likely to order unhealthy
take-out if you know that others are looking forward to cooking.