Choose any variety of tart apple you like; the dish also can be made entirely with apples or entirely with pear.
- 3 Pounds medium apples and pears (8 or 9 total)
- A few sprigs thyme, optional
- 2 or 3 Tablespoons water, fresh lemon juice, Calvados, pear brandy or eau de vie, hard cider or dessert wine
- Ground cinnamon or nutmeg, optional
Heat oven to 375 degrees.
Halve the pears and apples through the stem end, then core them and place the halves, cut side down, on 1 or more rimmed baking sheets, spacing them 1 to 2 inches apart.
If using thyme, scatter it among the apples and pears.
Cover the pan(s) tightly with aluminum foil.
Bake until fruit is tender when pierced with a knife tip, 30 to 40 minutes.
When they are cool enough to handle, slip the fruits from the skins and back into the pan(s), scraping any pulp from the skins.
Discard the skins and thyme stems.
Mash the apples and pears with a fork, stirring in enough water to help scrape up any brown bits from the pan bottom and lighten the texture of the fruit.
Stir in the cinnamon to taste, if using.
Scrape the mixture into a bowl and serve warm or at room temperature, or cover and refrigerate up to a day ahead and serve cold.