I came across this gorgeous and oh-so-easy dessert 20 years ago, only a few hours after setting off the fire alarms in our holiday accommodation in Kosciuszko. I was nannying at the time and had not only forgotten to pack the expensive organic meat bought especially for the trip and broken my spirit trying to do the impossible – ski – but I also overcooked something on the stove and it smoked… just a little bit.
Enter the Mt Kosciuszko fire brigade. Did you know that when staying in accommodation in a National Park, you have no ability to turn off a fire alarm yourself? For safety, the fire brigade needs to come, investigate and turn them off. Yep. 2 kids under 6, a thousand holidaying residents and a smoke alarm that wore out all our ears until the men in suits arrived.
Talk about deflated.
Well, I went on to cook a roast. And a neighbouring holidayer joined me and the family for dinner. She made dessert. Right there in our accommodation kitchen. 4 ingredients.
Pears. Cream. Brown sugar. Slithered of flaked almonds.
Peel. Sprinkle. Pour. Bake. Done.
It’s only 3 ingredients if you aren’t into nuts.
And it won’t burn the house down!
I’ve since gone on to make this dessert many times. Sometimes with a deliberate shop for the ingredients and other times, because I needed a WOW dessert pronto and the ingredients were on hand.
The leftovers make a serious breakfast treat – warm in the microwave, sprinkle some chia seeds and add a good dollop of greek yoghurt.
For a simple twist on this dessert you can even add the tiniest bit of salt… turning the sauce into salted caramel.
The hardest part is peeling the pears. The rest takes care of itself.
Perfect Pears in Caramel Sauce
PREP TIME: 15 minutes
COOK TIME: 30-45 minutes
1kg Williams or Packham pears
1/2 Cup brown sugar
1/3 Cup slithered or flaked almonds (optional)
Vanilla ice cream or greek yoghurt for serving.
* I often store cream in the freezer for moments when you need to make a dessert unplanned. When the cream defrosts, the texture can be lumpy but it will whip up a treat or for recipes such as this, it will melt down just the same.
1. Preheat your oven to 180°C / 356°F
2. Peel pears, cut in half (or quarters) and remove the core. If you want a fancy look to your dessert, leave the stems, however some halves will end up without it. I am lazy and quick with this. Bare in mind, if you are thinking about presentation, how you cut your pears, is exactly the form they will have when serving.
3. Sprinkle the pears with the brown sugar. You don’t have to be even or exact.
4. Pour over the entire 600ml of cream and place the try into the hot oven. Cook for 30 mins and test with a skewer to see how soft your bears are. You don’t want any resistance to the poke. If you need to, continue cooking until they are soft enough for a spoon to glide through the flesh. Sometimes this can take up to 45 minutes.
5. As the pears are becoming soft, remove the tray from the oven and sprinkle with slivered or flaked almonds if using. Return the tray to let the almonds turn slightly golden and you’re done!
5. Serve immediately with vanilla ice cream or greek yoghurt. It will be hot! So enjoy this caramel deliciousness carefully.
NOTE: Sometimes the cream will split, to regain some of the creamy ‘look’ simply give it a bit of a stir. The flavour will be just the same.