Photo by House of Sims/Flickr CC
This method works for many kinds of fruit including plums, apricots, peaches, pears, nectarines, apples, pineapples and mangos. Extremely soft, skinless fruits like bananas, figs or strawberries need no water at all. You can combine roasted fruits with a fruit sauce or filling, or serving with vanilla ice cream.
• 3 to 4 tablespoons sugar, honey or maple syrup • 1/2 vanilla bean (optional)
• Flavorings, such as ground spices or herbs • 1 1/2 pounds fruit, peeled, pitted and halved or sliced (no more than 3/4-inch thick) as appropriate such as pears, fresh peaches, apricots, nectarines, apples, pineapple, strawberries, mangoes, or bananas
• 2 teaspoons lemon juice • 2 tablespoons water
• 2 teaspoons unsalted butter (optional)
Preheat the oven to 375. If using the sugar, place it in a small bowl. With a thin sharp knife, split the vanilla bean lengthwise in half. Scrape out the seeds and stir them into the sugar along with any flavorings you wish. If using honey or maple syrup, combine it with the water, and vanilla seeds. Cut the vanilla pod into 2-inch pieces.
Arrange the fruit in a large baking dish, cut-side-up if halved. Drizzle the lemon juice evenly over the fruit, then drizzle the vanilla sugar or sweetener over. Nestle the vanilla pod among the fruit. If using sugar, add the water to pan. If desired, cut the butter into small pieces and distribute over the fruit.
Bake the fruit, brushing it occasionally with the pan juices, until it is tender and glazed and the juices in the pan are thick and syrupy. If the syrup evaporates too quickly, add a tablespoon or two more water to the pan. If the fruit is halved, turn halfway through the cooking time. Softer fruits such as plums, apricots, or peaches will take about 20 to 25 minutes. Harder fruits such as pears and apples will take about 40 minutes.
The fruit can be prepared up to 4 hours ahead. Before serving, warm in a moderate oven.