Saturday, October 29, 2011

Vanilla Cinnamon Poached Pears with Spiced Caramel Sauce

"It is, in my view, the duty of an apple to be crisp and crunchable, but a pear should have such a texture as leads to silent consumption."

-Edward Bunyard, 'The Anatomy of Dessert'

So I had an abundance of pears. This is one of the many recipes I made using the delicious fruit. I've made many varieties of pear jam and pear butter lately, and a pear crisp. This is up my alley because I'm in love with all things caramel.

cut the bottom off the pears so they stand up easily

Especially spiced caramel sauce such as this. The flavors of cardamom and cinnamon really shine through.

It's a simple and elegant dessert as well. Perfect fall flavors. You can choose to add hazelnuts, or don't. Either way is delicious.

The caramel before turning color

This is the amber color you are looking for to tell you it's ready to add the cream

The finished caramel

It's almost Halloween! How about something pumpkin?

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Thai Pumpkin Soup

Or what about some

Caramel Corn Clusters

Vanilla Cinnamon Poached Pears with Spiced Caramel Sauce

For the Poached Pears

6 pears, ripe but firm, peeled
2 or 3 (4 inch) cinnamon sticks
1 vanilla bean, split and scrape out seeds
6 cups of water

For the Spiced Caramel Sauce


1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 cup heavy cream
3 Tablespoons salted butter
5 cardamom pods
1 whole clove
2 (4 inch) sticks cinnamon

For topping

Chopped hazelnuts-optional

A day in advance or at least a few hours, measure the heavy cream into a container that will keep in the fridge. Add the cinnamon sticks and clove to the cream. Using the back of a spoon, break open the cardamom pods a little and place them in the cream. Let this mixture steep for at least a few hours or overnight.

When you are ready to make the caramel, get everything ready. Take the cream out of the fridge and strain out the spices and discard the spices. Place the cream next to the stove. Measure the butter and cut it into 4 or 5 pieces and place it next to the stove. In a medium heavy saucepan that has a light color or stainless inside, (don't use a black on the inside pan, or you won't be able to see the caramel turning color) place on medium high heat and add the sugar and water and stir just until the sugar is dissolved. Stop stirring and bring to a boil.

When it reaches a boil turn the heat down to medium and stop stirring. This is important because this can burn very easily. I mean turn black in what seems like a second. Boil the sugar until it reaches an amber color. Pour in the cream, now you can stir. This will make the sugar seize up. No worries, this is what should be happening. Keep stirring and put the pan on low heat and it will all come together. Add the butter and keep stirring till smooth. If you want the caramel sauce to be thicker, you can boil it again at this point, stirring constantly on medium heat for about 5 minutes and it will thicken up. Set aside and stop stirring, or it can become grainy.

To poach the pears: Place all of the poaching ingredients in a saucepan big enough to hold the liquid and your pears. Bring it to a boil, then keep it at a simmer until your pears are tender. The time will depend on how firm your pears are. Mine were a little soft so I just cooked them for 10 minutes or so, then turned the heat off and let them sit for an hour or so to soak up the flavor of the liquid. If the pears are more firm, they will need more time cooking.

To serve, place a pear on a plate and top with the warm caramel sauce. Top with chopped hazelnuts if desired.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice presentation as always with attractive photos.
Are any of these desserts going to be available in December for hungry guests? I hope so.