Little Pear Brown Bettys

3/4 stick unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
6 slices white sandwich bread, crusts removed
2 pears
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)

equipment: a muffin pan with 6 (1/2-cup) muffin cups

Accompaniment: whipped cream

Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Lightly butter muffin cups with some of melted butter, then sprinkle with granulated sugar.

Roll bread slices with a rolling pin to flatten. Brush both sides with some of remaining melted butter, then gently fit into muffin cups.

Peel pears and cut into 1/2-inch pieces. Stir together with brown sugar and cinnamon, tossing to coat. Stir in panko and remaining melted butter. Heap pear mixture into cups, pressing gently.

Cover pan with foil and bake 30 minutes. Uncover and bake until pears are tender, about 20 minutes more. Let stand 5 minutes before removing from pan. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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