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Hottest Food Trends for 2010

Like almost any trend, cuisines go in and out of style. Now that 2010 is right around the corner, it's time to take a look at the hottest things to expect in food.

Andrew Knowlton, restaurant editor at Bon Appétit magazine, shared his predictions for the biggest food trends of the new year -- and how to make some of them yourself, on "The Early Show" Wednesday.

"Early Show" Recipes Galore

2010 Trends:

Dish of the Year: Meatballs
This year, a lot of people returned to homey, comforting cooking, such as meatballs. Bon Appétit found them on both restaurant menus and kitchen tables all over the country.

Meatballs, according to Knowlton, are great to make at both at home and in restaurants because they are affordable, easy to make and delicious. Meatballs are also universal -- every kind of ethnic cuisine has some kind of meatball.

Cuisine of the Year: New Austrian
The ingredients and technique associated with this type of cuisine are becoming popular at restaurants around the country (and at home).

Austrian cuisine has Germanic roots -- and German food is popular now, as well. (You see craft beers and soft pretzels all over).

New Austrian foods are filled with bright flavors that make it perfect winter dinner-party fare.

Ingredient of the Year: Sriracha
Sriracha is our $5 secret ingredient. If you walk into any chef's kitchen or home, you will find sriarcha. Sriracha is a hot sauce with flavor -- it livens up every dish you put it on.

Sriracha is a great immigrant success story. David Tran came to the U.S. from Vietnam, and began manufacturing this sauce near Los Angeles in 1980 -- and they now sell more than 10 million bottles a year.

Chilies are the base for this sauce- - jalapeños are grown on a farm near the manufacturing plant, and when they ripen, they are pickled in salt, vinegar and preservatives.

Party of the Year: Modern Vegetarian
Bon Appetit chose this because eating vegetarian is not a big deal anymore. Eating vegetarian lost the negative stigma it used to have -- a lot of us do it and don't even realize it, according to Knowlton.

We picked this as party food of the year to show that a meat-free meal can be good enough to feature at a dinner party.

Desserts of the Year: All-American Comforts
For dessert of the year, we looked back to all those great treats your Grandma used to make, Brown Betty, bread pudding, coconut cake, etc. -- and all of them are making a comeback.

When times are tough, you look back to your youth and associate good times with good food. These desserts will definitely conjure up yummy and comforting memories from years past.

RECIPES:

Pork Meatball Banh Mi

The French-Vietnamese hybrid sandwiches called banh mi are great for lunch or a casual dinner.

INGREDIENTS
HOT CHILI MAYO
2/3 cup mayonnaise
2 green onions, finely chopped
1 tablespoon hot chili sauce (such as sriracha)

MEATBALLS
1 pound ground pork
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 green onions, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon hot chili sauce (such as sriracha)
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt

SANDWICHES
2 cups coarsely grated carrots
2 cups coarsely grated peeled daikon
1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1 tablespoon Asian sesame oil
4 10-inch-long individual baguettes or four 10-inch-long pieces French-bread baguette (cut from 2 baguettes)
Thinly sliced jalapeño chiles
16 large fresh cilantro sprigs

PREPARATION
HOT CHILI MAYO
Stir all ingredients in small bowl. Season with salt. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.

MEATBALLS
Line rimmed baking sheet with plastic wrap. Gently mix all ingredients in large bowl. Using moistened hands and scant tablespoonful for each, roll meat mixture into 1-inch meatballs. Arrange on baking sheet.DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.

SANDWICHES
Toss first 5 ingredients in medium bowl. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour, tossing occasionally.

Preheat oven to 300°F. Heat sesame oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add half of meatballs. Sauté until brown and cooked through, turning meatballs often and lowering heat if browning too quickly, about 15 minutes. Transfer meatballs to another rimmed baking sheet. Place in oven. Repeat with remaining meatballs.

Cut each baguette or baguette piece horizontally in half. Pull out enough bread from each bread half to leave 1/2-inch-thick shell. Spread hot chili mayo over each bread shell. Arrange jalapeños, then cilantro, in bottom halves. Fill each with 1/4 of meatballs. Drain pickled vegetables; place atop meatballs. Press on baguette tops.

Spaghetti and Meatballs All'Amatriciana
Spaghetti and meatballs get spiced up with a classic Italian sauce. All'amatriciana hails from Amatrice, a town northeast of Rome. Classic all'amatriciana sauce is made from tomatoes, guanciale (salt-cured pig's jowl), and hot peppers. Here, bacon stands in for the guanciale.

INGREDIENTS
MEATBALLS
6 ounces uncured apple wood-smoked bacon (about 6 slices), diced
2 large garlic cloves, peeled
2 pounds ground beef (15% fat)
2/3 cup chopped drained roasted red peppers from jar
2/3 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
2 large eggs
1/2 cup coarsely grated onion
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon minced fresh marjoram
2 teaspoons dried crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

SAUCE
2 28-ounce cans diced tomatoes in juice (preferably San Marzano)
2 large garlic cloves, peeled
6 ounces uncured applewood-smoked bacon (about 6 slices), cut crosswise into thin strips
1 tablespoon (or more) extra-virgin olive oil
3 cups finely chopped onions
1 1/2 teaspoons dried crushed red pepper
2 cups dry white wine
1 tablespoon minced fresh marjoram

PASTA
1 1/2 pounds spaghetti
2 to 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh marjoram
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

PREPARATION
MEATBALLS
Place bacon in processor. Using on/off turns, grind to coarse paste. Transfer to large bowl. Using garlic press, squeeze in garlic. Gently mix in beef and all remaining ingredients. Let stand 15 minutes.

Line large rimmed baking sheet with plastic wrap. Using moistened hands and scant 2 tablespoonfuls for each, roll meat mixture into 1 1/2-inch meatballs. Arrange meatballs on sheet. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover with plastic wrap; chill.

SAUCE
Puree tomatoes with juice and garlic in batches in blender until smooth.

Cook bacon in large pot over medium heat until crisp; transfer bacon to plate.

Add 1 tablespoon oil to drippings in pot and heat over medium heat. Add half of meatballs. Cook until brown on all sides, turning carefully with small metal spatula, about 9 minutes. Transfer meatballs to baking sheet. Add more oil to pot if needed and repeat with remaining meatballs.

Increase heat to medium-high. Add onions and crushed red pepper to pot. Sauté until golden, about 6 minutes. Add wine; boil until reduced by half, stirring up browned bits, about 8 minutes. Add tomato puree and marjoram. Boil until sauce thickens slightly, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Mix bacon into sauce. Add meatballs; bring to simmer. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer until meatballs are heated through and tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Season sauce with salt and pepper.

PASTA
Meanwhile, cook spaghetti in pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain; transfer to large bowl. Toss with 2 tablespoons oil and marjoram, adding more oil to moisten, if desired. Divide spaghetti among bowls. Top with meatballs and sauce. Sprinkle with cheese and serve, passing additional cheese separately.

Lamb Köfte with Yogurt Sauce and Muhammara
The Middle East on a flatbread: Turkish meatballs, a tahini-spiked yogurt sauce, andmuhammara, a Syrian red pepper spread.

INGREDIENTS
YOGURT SAUCE
1 cup plain low-fat yogurt
2 tablespoons tahini (sesame seed paste)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt

KÖFTE
2 pounds ground lamb
1/2 cup minced fresh mint
1/4 cup coarsely grated onion
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
12 5- to 7-inch-diameter soft round Middle Eastern flatbreads (preferably with no pocket)
2 tablespoons (or more) olive oil, divided
2 large onions, halved through core, cut crosswise into 1/4- to 1/3-inch slices

MUHAMMARA
1/2 cup finely chopped drained roasted red peppers from jar
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons (or more) pomegranate molasses
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley

PREPARATION
YOGURT SAUCE
Stir all ingredients in medium bowl to blend. Cover and chill.

KÖFTE
Line large rimmed baking sheet with plastic wrap. Gently mix lamb and next 8 ingredients in large bowl. Using moistened hands and scant 2 tablespoonfuls for each, roll meat mixture into 1 1/2-inch meatballs. Arrange on sheet.

Preheat oven to 300°F. Place large sheet of foil on work surface. Heat large nonstick or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add flatbreads to skillet 1 at a time; cook until browned, about 2 minutes per side. Enclose in foil; place in oven to keep warm.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in same skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions; sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Sauté until golden brown, about 8 minutes. Transfer onions to 1 side of large rimmed baking sheet; place in oven to keep warm.

Add 1 tablespoon oil to same skillet; heat over medium-high heat. Sauté half of meatballs until just cooked through, 7 to 8 minutes. Transfer to baking sheet in oven. Repeat with remaining meatballs, adding oil to skillet if dry. Reserve skillet.

MUHAMMARA
Add roasted peppers to reserved skillet; stir 1 minute. Add 1/2 cup water and 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses. Bring to simmer, scraping up browned bits. Cook until reduced to 2/3 cup, stirring occasionally, about 4 minutes. Mix in parsley. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and more pomegranate molasses, if desired. Transfer to small bowl.

Arrange onions and meatballs on platter. Serve with warm breads, yogurt sauce, and muhammara.

Pumpkin Seed Spaetzle
Pumpkin seeds give earthy flavor and lovely color to this side dish. This recipe is part of the New Austrian Cuisine menu.

INGREDIENTS
1/2 cup shelled raw pumpkin seeds
2 cups all purpose flour, divided
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon pumpkin seed oil, plus additional for drizzling
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
Ground nutmeg

SPECIAL EQUIPMENT
Potato ricer or spaetzle maker

PREPARATION
Finely grind pumpkin seeds with 1/2 cup flour in processor. Add 1 1/2 cups flour and 1 teaspoon salt; process just to blend. Whisk 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons water, eggs, egg yolk, and 1 tablespoon pumpkin seed oil in large bowl. Stir in flour mixture.

Bring large pot of salted water to boil. Working in batches, spoon batter into potato ricer or spaetzle maker. Slowly press batter into boiling water, shaking ricer occasionally to release spaetzle. Stir to prevent sticking, then simmer until cooked through and tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Using skimmer or large slotted spoon, transfer spaetzle to colander; rinse with cold water. Transfer to large bowl. DO AHEAD Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.

Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat. Add spaetzle; sprinkle lightly with nutmeg and stir until heated through, 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Transfer spaetzle to large bowl. Drizzle pumpkin seed oil over and serve.

Red Cabbage Salad with Green Apple, Lingonberry Preserves, and Toasted Walnuts
This seasonal salad is a great mix of colors and flavors. This recipe is part of the New Austrian Cuisine menu.

INGREDIENTS
3 tablespoons lingonberry preserves, divided
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/2 cup canola oil
1 large unpeeled Granny Smith apple, coarsely grated, divided
1/2 cup walnut halves, toasted, divided
4 cups thinly sliced red cabbage

PREPARATION
Puree 1 tablespoon preserves, mustard, and vinegar in blender. With machine running, gradually add oil. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper.
Reserve 1/4 of grated apple and several walnut halves for garnish. Toss cabbage, remaining 2 tablespoons preserves, apple, and walnuts in large bowl. Toss with enough dressing to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with reserved grated apple and walnut halves and serve.

For more Bon Appétit recipes, go to Page 2.

Seafood, Rice Pancake, and Egg Stir-Fry
Pim Techamuanvivit, author of The Foodie Handbook, developed this great light lunch, a version of Thai street food. For tips, check out our Test Kitchen's How to Make a Seafood, Rice Pancake, and Egg Stir-Fry.

INGREDIENTS
SWEET-TART SAUCE
1/4 cup sriracha sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon fish sauce

PANCAKES
1/2 cup rice flour
2 tablespoons tapioca starch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup water

STIR-FRY
1 pound mussels, scrubbed, debearded
1/4 cup water
7 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
4 cups bean sprouts (about 8 ounces)
1 large garlic clove, minced
4 green onions (dark green parts only), cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 pound uncooked medium shrimp, peeled, deveined, halved lengthwise, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces, divided
1 teaspoon fish sauce ), divided
4 large eggs
Chopped fresh cilantro

PREPARATION
SWEET-TART SAUCE
Stir all ingredients in small saucepan over low heat until sugar dissolves. Set aside.

PANCAKES
Whisk first 4 ingredients in medium bowl. Whisk in 3/4 cup water (mixture will have consistency of milk).

STIR-FRY
Place mussels and 1/4 cup water in skillet. Cover and boil until mussels open, about 3 minutes. As mussels open, transfer to large plate (discard any mussels that do not open). Cool slightly. Remove from shells.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add bean sprouts and garlic; sauté 2 minutes. Divide sprout mixture among 4 plates. Wipe out skillet; reserve skillet. Sprinkle green onions over sprout mixture.

Heat 3 tablespoons oil in reserved skillet over medium-high heat. Rewhisk pancake batter. Add 1/2 cup batter to skillet, rotating skillet to cover bottom of pan with batter (some spots may not be completely covered). Cook until bottom of pancake begins to brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Scatter half of shrimp over pancake; cook 30 seconds. Scatter half of mussels over. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon fish sauce over. Crack 2 eggs atop pancake; break yolks and spread egg over. Using 2 spoons, coarsely break pancake into large pieces (about 2 inches each) and cook until eggs and shrimp are cooked through, turning occasionally and keeping pancake pieces intact as much as possible, about 2 minutes. Divide mixture between 2 plates. Repeat with remaining 3 tablespoons oil, pancake batter, shrimp, mussels, 1/2 teaspoon fish sauce, and 2 eggs.

Drizzle some of sweet-tart sauce over pancake mixture; sprinkle with cilantro. Serve, passing remaining sauce alongside.

Pan-Seared Polenta with Spicy Tomato-Basil Sauce
This meat-free main is perfect for a healthful, Mediterranean-inspired dinner party. This recipe comes from the Modern Vegetarian Party menu.

INGREDIENTS
8 cups water
5 tablespoons (or more) olive oil, divided
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups polenta (coarse cornmeal)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Spicy Tomato-Basil Sauce (click for recipe)
Fresh basil sprigs (for garnish; optional)

PREPARATION
Preheat oven to 350°F. Place 15x10x2-inch glass baking dish on rimmed baking sheet. Combine 8 cups water, 3 tablespoons olive oil, and 2 teaspoons salt in dish. Gradually mix in polenta.

Place baking sheet with polenta in oven. Bake polenta 1 hour. Add pepper and stir to blend. Bake 20 minutes. Stir again and spread evenly. Bake until polenta is very thick, about 20 minutes longer. Cool polenta to room temperature, 1 to 2 hours (polenta will become firm). Using metal spatula, press polenta all over to even thickness. DO AHEAD Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover with plastic wrap; chill.

Preheat oven to 325°F. Cut polenta lengthwise into 4 strips. Cut each strip crosswise into 6 squares. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add polenta squares. Sauté until crisp and beginning to color, about 8 minutes per side. Transfer polenta to small baking sheet; place in oven to keep warm. Repeat with remaining polenta, adding oil to skillet as needed.

Divide polenta among plates. Top with warm Spicy Tomato-Basil Sauce. Garnish with fresh basil sprigs, if desired.

Fried Sunchoke Chips with Rosemary Salt
For perfectly thin chips, use a V-slicer or mandoline with an adjustable blade. This recipe comes from the Modern Vegetarian Party menu.

INGREDIENTS
2 pounds unpeeled sunchokes (also called Jerusalem artichokes), scrubbed
Vegetable oil (for frying)
1 tablespoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary

*Tubers of a variety of sunflower; sold in the produce section of some supermarkets and at farmers' markets.

PREPARATION
Fill large bowl with cold water. Slice sunchokes into thin rounds (about 1/16 inch thick), immediately dropping into bowl of water to prevent browning. Rinse and drain 3 times. Pat very dry with paper towels.

Pour enough oil into large deep skillet to reach depth of 1/2 inch. Submerge bulb of deep-fry thermometer into oil; lean top of thermometer against skillet rim. Heat oil to 375°F. Mix 1 tablespoon salt and rosemary in small bowl. Using fingertips, blend well, rubbing salt and rosemary together.

Working in batches, fry sunchoke slices until golden brown, stirring occasionally, 3 to 4 minutes. Using skimmer, transfer chips to paper towels to drain. Sprinkle chips with some rosemary salt. DO AHEAD Chips can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.

Mound chips in bowl and serve.

For dessert recipes, go to Page 3.

Dried Fig, Apricot, and Cherry Slump
This homey dessert gets its name from its lack of structure, which causes it to slump on the plate. Slumps are also known as grunts, a name that may describe the sound berries make as they cook. No matter which name you use, this old-fashioned treat is usually made of cooked fruit with a biscuit topping. Here, dried figs, apricots, tart cherries, and raisins make up the filling. The light, airy biscuits are similar to dumplings.

INGREDIENTS
FILLING
2 cups fruity white wine (such as Riesling)
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup dried black Mission figs (about 6 ounces), stemmed, quartered
1 cup dried apricot halves (about 5 ounces), cut in half
1/2 cup dried tart cherries (about 3 ounces)
1/2 cup golden raisins (about 3 ounces)
1/4 cup matchstick-size strips crystallized ginger
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

DROP BISCUITS
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
4 tablespoons sugar, divided
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
2/3 cup chilled buttermilk
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Chilled heavy whipping cream

PREPARATION
FILLING
Combine first 9 ingredients in 12-inch broiler-proof skillet with 3-inch-high sides or wide 3-quart stovetop casserole dish. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; add bean. Bring mixture to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer 2 minutes. Remove from heat. DO AHEAD Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.

DROP BISCUITS
Whisk flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, baking soda, and sea salt in medium bowl to blend. Add butter and rub in with fingertips until very coarse meal forms (butter pieces will be reduced to size of small peas). Add buttermilk and stir just until dough comes together (dough will be slightly wet). Mix remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and cinnamon in small bowl to blend.

Return dried fruit mixture to simmer. Using generous 1/4 cup biscuit dough for each, scoop 8 mounds of dough atop simmering fruit mixture, spacing apart. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar over each biscuit. Cover skillet tightly and simmer over medium-low heat until biscuits are puffy and cooked through (tester inserted into center of biscuits comes out clean), about 12 minutes. Remove skillet from heat. Let slump stand uncovered 15 minutes.

Meanwhile position rack in upper third of oven at least 6 inches from heat source and preheat broiler. Broil slump just until biscuit tops are light golden, watching closely to prevent burning, 1 to 2 minutes.
Divide fruit slump among bowls. Pour chilled cream over each and serve.

Coconut Cake with Chocolate Chunks and Coconut Drizzle
A chocolaty, coffee-cake-like treat that would be terrific for dessert, afternoon tea, or brunch.

INGREDIENTS
CAKE
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons (packed) finely grated orange peel
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate bars (do not exceed 61% cacao), broken into 1/2-inch irregular pieces, divided
1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut

COCONUT DRIZZLE
3/4 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons (or more) canned unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Vanilla ice cream

PREPARATION
CAKE
Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously butter 9-inch-diameter cake pan with 2-inch-high sides; dust pan with flour, shaking out excess. Sift 1 3/4 cups flour, baking powder, and sea salt into medium bowl. Stir in unsweetened shredded coconut and set aside. Using electric mixer, beat sugar, butter, and orange peel in large bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Add flour mixture in 3 additions alternately with coconut milk in 2 additions, beating just until blended after each addition. Fold in half of bittersweet chocolate pieces. Spread batter evenly in prepared cake pan. Sprinkle remaining chocolate pieces over batter, then sprinkle with sweetened flaked coconut.

Bake cake until golden and tester inserted into center comes out clean, tenting with sheet of foil if coconut atop cake is browning too quickly, 60 to 70 minutes. Transfer cake to rack and cool in pan 45 minutes.

COCONUT DRIZZLE
Whisk powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut milk, and vanilla in small bowl to blend well, adding more coconut milk by 1/2 teaspoonfuls until mixture is thin enough to drizzle over cake.

Carefully run small knife around sides of cake to loosen. Invert cake onto platter, then carefully invert again onto another platter, coconut side up. Using small spoon, drizzle powdered sugar mixture decoratively over cake. Cool cake completely on platter. DO AHEAD Cake can be made up to 1 day ahead. Cover cake and let stand at room temperature.

Cut cake into wedges and serve with vanilla ice cream.

Pear, Almond, and Dried-Cherry Brown Betty
Brown Betty recipes started showing up in the late 1800s, although nobody is sure who "Betty" was. Traditionally, a brown Betty is made with apples, breadcrumbs, and spices. In this updated version, pears stand in for the apples and the breadcrumbs are enriched with almonds. Keep in mind that this dessert is best eaten the day it's made (but any leftovers would be nice for breakfast).

INGREDIENTS
1/2 cup dried tart cherries
3 tablespoons poire Williams (clear pear brandy) or regular brandy
6 5x4-inch slices white sandwich bread with crust (such as buttermilk bread), torn into pieces (about 6 cups)
1 cup sliced almonds
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups hot water
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg or ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 1/2 pounds firm but ripe pears (such as Bosc or Bartlett), peeled, halved, cored, cut into 1-inch cubes
Vanilla ice cream

PREPARATION
Combine cherries and brandy in small bowl; let soak until cherries soften, 1 to 2 hours. Drain (reserve brandy for another use).

Preheat oven to 375°F. Combine bread pieces and almonds in processor. Using on/off turns, blend until mixture resembles very coarse crumbs. Spread crumb mixture evenly on rimmed baking sheet. Bake until crumb mixture is light golden and crisp, about 16 minutes. Transfer crumb mixture to medium bowl; toss with melted butter. Set aside. Maintain oven temperature.

Mix 1 1/2 cups hot water and honey in 2-cup measuring cup. Combine drained cherries, brown sugar, lemon juice, lemon peel, cinnamon, nutmeg, sea salt, and cloves in large bowl; stir to blend well. Add pear cubes and toss to coat.

Butter 9x9x2-inch metal baking pan. Sprinkle 1/3 of crumb mixture over bottom of prepared baking pan. Spread half of pear mixture over crumb mixture. Top with 1/3 of crumb mixture, then remaining pear mixture. Sprinkle remaining crumb mixture evenly over. Pour water-honey mixture over.

Cover pan tightly with foil and bake 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake uncovered until crumb mixture is golden brown on top and pear filling is bubbling thickly at edges, about 45 minutes longer. Remove from oven and cool at least 20 minutes. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Cool completely, then cover and chill. Rewarm uncovered in 300°F oven 15 to 20 minutes.

Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

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