caramel pear dessert

On the first day of fall I noticed that the hydrangeas had a vintage look. Instead of vibrant blue, they aged into a subtle blend of pink, violet, gray and cream. Hydrangeas are the only flowers I know of that exhibit such grace at the end of life. Against the backdrop of ochre, green and crimson leaves they called out for preservation. I cut the branches and gathered them up for drying, hoping to sustain their color and my warm weather memories.

Walking back from the garden, hydrangea bunches in hand, my feet crunched over the dried, fallen leaves. “The sun is setting earlier now” I thought and my mind turned to the basket of freshly picked apples and pears on the counter inside. It was time to bake.

apple tart collage

Caramel Pears

8-10 ripe pears, washed, dried, chilled
372 grams sugar (about 2 cups)
186 grams dark brown sugar (about 1 cup)
150 grams butter (about 2/3 cup)
2/3 cup corn syrup
1 cup cream
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 tsp. real vanilla extract

Mix all ingredients together (except the fruit) in a deep saucepan. Cook over medium high heat until the butter melts and temperature on a candy or laser thermometer reaches 246 degrees (119 celcius). Stir constantly toward the end of the cooking period to prevent scorching. Remove from heat and cool slightly.

Dip fruit into caramel mixture and twist until evenly covered. Roll in nuts or sugar. Drain on waxed paper or a silicone baking sheet. Refrigerate. Consume pears within a few hours. Leftover caramel can be refrigerated and defrosted in the microwave for dipping fruit slices or served with the tart.

Apple Tart Crust:

140 g. sugar
400 g. butter
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
455 g. flour

1. Mix sugar, butter, eggs and vanilla with dough hook just until combined.
2. Add flour and mix until smooth. Do not over mix.
3. Flatten into disks and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate 30 minutes. (You’ll only use half the dough. The rest can be tightly sealed and frozen)
4. Roll or press tart dough into shells (about 1/4 inch thick)
5. Preheat oven to 400 degrees (205 celcius)

Apple Filling

6 medium apples, sliced
130 grams sugar
25 grams flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg

Mix dry ingredients. Add sliced apples and toss with sugar mixture. Arrange apples over tart crust. Bake 45-55 minutes until crust is cooked through.

hydrangea collage

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower. ~ Albert Camus

dried hydrangea

Welcome Autumn. I’m ready for you now.


Fresh New England

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  1. Wow. I have never considered caramel coated pears. You just opened a door I hadn’t seen! Mmmm.

    Also… “Welcome Autumn. I’m ready for you now.” …my sentiments exactly.

  2. Jessica – thanks for the compliment but the desserts on this site are incredibly easy to make. Every recipe has been tested by moi. Give one a try and see how it turns out. Let me know how it goes.

  3. Thanks for the wonderful blog posts. I look forward to reading your blog when I’m at home and cozy with my cup of coffee.

  4. Cuisinaire – The only inspiration I had were the pears on my kicthen counter and a craving for caramel apples. Give em a try. If you use ripe, flavorful fresh pears, they are really good. Thanks for the comment.

  5. Thank you for using an interesting word picture. I love the imagination. Okay, yes I do love the food and the beautiful season you describing bidding for our attention. The flowers will be enjoyed I’m sure.

  6. Tres bien! This is so uplifting. Inspiring, really. That is the most beautiful spoon I have ever seen. Where did you buy that spoon?

  7. Thank you for the feedback. It inspires me to keep working.

    Elise- it’s an old sugar spoon. It’s one of those things that’s been around for a long time. I don’t recall where it came from. Sorry!

  8. okay, first of all, there is such a thing as a laser thermometer? so cool.
    I’ve always wanted to try caramel pears but haven’t. now you’ve left me totally inspired. love, love your blog.

  9. we just moved in a new house and noticed that we have a pear tree in our yard. It’s like a no one’s and everybody’s tree, and it’s so generous with fruits…I made a pear cake yesterday and still have tonnes to use for jams and for poaching. And now, also for making this amazing recipe!

  10. I just made the caramelized pears. They were delicious. However, the caramel kind of slid down the sides of the pears. Do you have any suggestions for getting it to stay on in the form of more than just a thin coat?

  11. Kara, thanks for your note. Caramel is very temperamental. I’m not a chef but here are a few thoughts.

    1. Cook the mixture at a lower temperature for a longer period of time to increase the evaporation of liquid or

    2. Refrigerate the sauce or

    3. Dip the pear several times and refrigerate in between dips for a thicker overall layer or

    4. Buy caramel that’s a consistency that you like and melt it down.

    Personally, I like the caramel layer thin because I want to taste the pear. Our pears are local and taste really good! Hope this helps!

  12. Beautiful post! I am excited to try! were your pears dipped in regular sugar? It looks a little grainier and I didn’t know if it was just the picture. Looks delicious and I’d like to make mine the same!

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