This is my favorite, go-to autumn dessert. Sure, I like pumpkin pie, but the other day I realized that this is the one I “fall” back on time and time again. It’s very forgiving: Just about any combination of seasonal fruits will do–and since there’s always something or other on the counter or in the fridge, it’s always possible.
It’s unbelievably easy: no crust or other special techniques required, no measuring, and no precise timing. Just cut up as much fruit as you want to use, peel it or don’t, throw it in a pan that is worthy of bringing to the table–like the paella pan above or the cast iron skillet below–splash on a little wine (any color or type will do), a drizzle of honey, maybe a few sprigs of herbs, and let the thing bake (or grill) until it’s done enough to suit your taste or the amount of time you’ve got. Serve it hot or cold. It’s gorgeous, and it’s naturally gluten- and dairy-free.
One more thing: You won’t need to add spices. You’ll be amazed how autumn fruits’ flavors are enhanced after time in a hot oven, bringing out the spicy notes we associate with desserts this time of year.
Here’s one possible combination in recipe form. As my daughter-in-law Stephanie would say, “Go for it.”
Roasted Autumn Fruits
Makes 10-12 servings
4 pounds apples and Bosc or Anjou pears (about 6 apples and 3 to 4 large pears), including some firm fleshed and some melting flesh apple varieties such as Pippin and Golden Delicious
1 to 2 pint baskets of ripe figs, about ¾ pound
2 fuyu persimmons
2 cups Concord, Autumn Royale, or wine grapes
2 ounces dried fruit (plums, apricots, or apples), snipped into small pieces
1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup wine (off-dry red or white, or a muscat dessert wine, such as Beaumes de Venise)
Thyme sprigs, optional
Crème frâiche, Greek yogurt, ice cream, or heavy cream for serving, optional
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel fruit if desired. Core and cut apples, pears, and persimmons into large wedges or chunks. Cut figs in half. Place all fruit in a large ovenproof pan and use your hands to mix them a bit. It’s okay if you need to mound fruit in your pan. Warm the honey and wine together and pour over the fruit. Toss in a few sprigs of thyme if desired. Roast until fruit is bubbling and well browned in places, about 45 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.