That's a Bartlett standing by for size comparison.
The kiddos were smitten and they've been slurping their "baby pears" for breakfast, snack, and in their lunchboxes all week. Seckel pears, however, are most definitely not just for kids.
Of course you can use a fork.
adapted from Food52.com
8 Seckel Pears (or 4 larger pears), halved and cored
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp unsalted butter, diced
1 tbsp granulated sugar
3 tbsp water
5 sprigs fresh thyme
For the cream
1 cup heavey whipping cream
1 whole vanilla bean
1/2 cup Mascarpone cheese
1 tbsp powdered sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place cored pear halves cut side up in a baking dish. Drizzle lemon juice over the tops of the pears, dot with butter and sprinkle with granulated sugar. Pour about 3 tablespoons of water into the bottom of the baking dish. Arrange thyme sprigs around the pears. Bake Seckel pears for about 30-40 minutes, flipping the pear halves to skin-side up halfway through baking. Larger pears will take longer to cook - estimate an additional 20 minutes or so. They are done when a fork easily slides through the flesh in the thickest part of the pear. Remove from oven and cool to room temperature.
2. Meanwhile, pour cream into a medium mixing bowl. Slice a vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Add the gooey vanilla seeds to the cream and stir, then throw in the bean pod too. Refrigerate the cream mixture and mixing bowl for an hour or more.
3. Remove the vanilla bean pod from the cream. Add the Mascarpone and beat on medium speed until well combined. Add the powdered sugar and continue beating until soft peaks form.
4. Top each pear with a dollop of the cream mixture. Sprinkle with chopped fresh or roasted thyme leaves (from the pear roasting pan).