1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

1/4 cup dark rum

4 fresh pears, cored and quartered

Confectioners’ sugar

4 slices pound cake, each 2 inches thick

Whipped cream (optional)

Fresh mint (optional)

Procedure:

1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, caramelize the sugar. When it becomes liquid and is dark brown in color, add the cream and reduce the heat. Add the butter and rum. Stir until the butter is melted. Remove from the heat.

2. Prepare the grill for direct cooking over medium heat (350° to 450°F).

3. Dust the pears with confectioners’ sugar. Brush the cooking grates clean. Grill the pears over direct medium heat, with the lid closed as much as possible, until tender, 8 to 10 minutes, turning once or twice.

4. Sprinkle each slice of pound cake with confectioners’ sugar and then tap off any excess. Grill the cake slices over direct medium heat until warmed through, about 2 minutes, turning once.

5. Cut the cake slices in half on an angle. To serve, cross each half piece with the other half on a serving plate. Arrange the pears around the cake and drizzle with the caramel sauce. Garnish with whipped cream and mint, if desired.

Makes 4 servings