Pear Praline

6 USA red or yellow Bartlett pears
Lemon juice
2/3 cup sugar, divided
6 tbs water, divided
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 tbs butter or margarine
1/2 cup chopped pecans
3/4 cup heavy cream
6 oz semi-sweet chocolate morsels

Core pears from bottom leaving stems intact. Pare and brush inside and outside with lemon juice. In 11-1/2x7-1/2x2-inch baking dish, combine 1/3 cup sugar, 4 tbs water and vanilla. Microwave at HIGH (100%) 2 minutes. Stir and Microwave 1-1/2 minutes longer. Place pears on their sides in syrup, bottom ends towards edge of pan. Baste with syrup. Cover with plastic wrap and Microwave at HIGH 15 to 20 minutes or until tender; baste and turn twice during cooking. Cool in syrup, turning occasionally; half pears if desired.

To prepare praline topping, combine 1/3 cup sugar, 2 tbs water and butter in 1 quart measure. Microwave at HIGH 2 minutes. Stir and Microwave 3 to 5 minutes longer. Mixture will boll and turn medium brown in color. Immediately stir in nuts and spread onto buttered foil-lined pan. Cool completely. Chop finely.

To prepare chocolate sauce, Microwave cream in 1-quart measure at HIGH 1-1/2 to 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Stir in chocolate until smooth. Halve cooled pears, if desired. Pool chocolate sauce on serving plate; place pear halves on sauce. Sprinkle with praline topping.

Makes 6 servings.

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Cajun Country -- New Iberia, Louisiana