Slingshot Bessie’s Bourbon-Baked Pears

As dusk would fall, Bessie knew she had one job and one job only. Protect the farm. Not only from the deer that could consume an entire crop of corn but also from the bootleggers wanting to steal the best pear brandy found in the mountains, crafted by none other than Bessie herself.

How’d she do it? With a slingshot. Her apron was full of smooth round stones from the creek for the bootlegging thieves and young unripened hard pears for the deer.

At dusk, she would perch herself within ‘one-eye’ distance of the corn fields and creek bed where the still was set up. Whether you were a four-legged or two-legged unannounced visitor, you were met with either a pear or stone shot from Bessie’s precision sling.

Word got around fast in that small mountain town: do not show up unannounced at Slingshot Bessie’s farm.

As the pears would ripen, Bessie would use some for her famous pear brandy and some for her 5th Sunday singing at the church, bringing this recipe of bourbon baked goodness.

“It’s amazing how many 5th Sunday’s there are in a week,” said the preacher!


  • 1lb of fresh pears, peeled and halved lengthwise, keeping stem on
  • Lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons of light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup of bourbon


  • Preheat the oven to 325.
  • Butter a baking dish large enough to hold the pear halves in a single layer.
  • Using a small spoon, scoop the core and seeds from the pears, drizzle with lemon juice and arrange in the buttered baking dish.
  • In a small sauce pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the brown sugar and vanilla, stir to combine.  Continue cooking until all ingredients are blended and syrupy. (Watch carefully as this can burn easily)
  • Gradually whisk in the bourbon and cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until smooth.
  • Spoon the mixture over the pears, allowing it to pool in the centers where you removed the cores.
  • Bake, uncovered for 45 to 60 minutes or until the pears are tender when pierced with a fork.
  • Allow to cool and then serve with your favorite vanilla ice cream and a small pour of Doc’s favorite Butter Pecan Bourbon Cream. Oh y’all, it’s good!