Ahh....Fall is in the air.
So it's time for Fall desserts. Cooler weather = richer flavors.
And I'm experimenting with new things again.
Yep, pears. Bosc to be exact.
I've never done much of anything with pears beyond dumping them out of a can. Sure we buy them fresh occasionally, but they certainly aren't on our regular produce list. Not sure why that is, because I really like pears.
Anyway, I've been intrigued by pears lately.
Which of course with me leads into using them in a dessert.
I was looking for something with a warm, rich texture.
And this is what happened.
Vanilla braised pears with caramel and cream.
Not too shabby methinks!
First, peel your pears. Leave the stems on though, if you can find them with stems. It looks cool.
While you're peeling them, here is a hint for presentation sake. You know those handy little scraper things? (what would I do without my supply of Pampered Chef plastic scrapers) Run it across the surface of the pear to even things out.
Pear, meet plastic thingy.
You go from choppy surface and peel lines to this:
Also you can core the pears. If you don't have a handy corer, carefully cut it out. You don't have to do this, but it sure makes it easier to eat them when you can just dig right in and not worry about running into seeds and such.
One other handy little trick; Cut just enough off the bottom to make it level.
See? You go from that upber crooked pear in the first picture to graceful pear.
In a big sauce pan, combine water, sugar and vanilla. If you can track down vanilla beans, use them! If you're like me and it's Sunday night at 8:30, use a good vanilla.
And next time plan ahead a little better.
Drop those pears into their golden sugary bath. Mmmmm......
While they are soaking, get started on your caramel.
Put sugar in a pan. Just sugar.
Have you ever melted sugar?
And word to the wise: You think boiling water is hot? Try melted sugar. Boiling water hurts, boiling sugar will remove your skin permanently. Be careful. Thank you.
If your sugar starts to burn, you can add a little water in there. It will take a bit longer to melt because the water has to burn out, but should prevent the sugar from burning.
As it starts to melt (yes it does take a while), it turns this gorgeous amber color.
And once it finally starts to turn, it really gets going quickly!
When it's melted, add the butter.
This will make it start to boil and grow, so watch carefully.
Your pears are still in their little jacuzzi.
When the butter is melted, remove from heat and slowly add the cream.
Watch how high it gets-make sure you stir it!
And voila-caramel sauce!
This is also really good with a little cinnamon in it.
It gives this whole thing a bit more of a seasonal taste. (just make sure you mix it in well!)
By the time you finish your caramel, the pears should be tender and ready to go! I like mine just fork tender, but you could certainly go softer.
Put it all together with a little cream on the side and you get this:
Or if you're going for simplicity or the caramel is too rich for you (it is very rich by the way), serve the pears in cream. And that's it. You could add some type of garnish just for kicks, or maybe throw in a couple of berries for some color.
I'm loving the no frills look of the pear in cream.
The taste combination is heavenly.
I'm also thinking that throwing a cinnamon stick in with the pears while they cook, and maybe a little nutmeg, would make for a fabulous twist.
Vanilla Poached Pears
Bosc Pears (4 or 5)
5 cups water
2 1/2 cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla, or vanilla beans
Bring water, sugar and vanilla to a low simmer. Add pears and allow to cook until desired tendency, turning to allow even cooking.
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup whipping cream
Melt sugar in thick bottomed sauce pan. Use low heat to avoid burning. Once sugar is melted, add butter and allow to melt. Remove from heat. Slowly stir in cream. Store sauce in a jar in refrigerator for up to two weeks