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Caramelized Vanilla Pears

November 16, 2012
Carmelized Pears

Carmelized Pears

The leaves have mostly fallen, leaving the trees bare naked and cold. The only warmth coming from the sun, peeking its head above the horizon and spreading a lovely golden glow on winter’s brink. I opened the back door to breathe it in.

The squirrels flew, flew, flew across the yard, followed in hot pursuit by my black, 5 pound poodle-mixed mutt, baring his crooked teeth and leaving a visible trail in the morning dew. Standing in the doorway, I watched the flash of black on a seriously engaging quest, that would only result in utter disappointment, due to the simple fact that he was, indeed, fast, but not fast enough. I released a slight chuckle followed by a deep inhale of crisp morning air. He circled around, locking his gaze on mine, then trotted his way back to the door he knows to be home. I knelt, laid my hand on his head, and tizzied up his hair in effort to reassure him there would be another bushy-tailed chase tomorrow. The hug of my robe seemed fitting for a day like this.

Hot coffee. Yes. Laundry. Unfortunately. Irish folk music. Thankfully. Winter pears. Indeed. Caramelized Vanilla Pears. Yes. Yes. Absolutely yes! That is the texture of a day I long for, and often permit myself, as life is much, much too short.

Carmelized Vanilla Pears

The pears.

I used Bartlett because it was early in the pear season here. Bosc or Anjou will work too, depending on how deep you are into the pear season. Caramelized pears are typically made with Bosc because they are ripe in the dead of winter and have a tender flesh perfect for cooking. Bottom line, pick the pears that look the best and are the most ripe (no crunchy pears, please).

pear dessert

Remove the juicy cores. Use a spoon if you don’t have a nifty tool.

pear dessert

Sprinkle each pear half with 1/2 teaspoon of cane sugar.

pear dessertMelt 2 tablespoons of butter in the skillet and set to medium high heat. Give the pears a gentle face plant in the sizzling butter. Let them cook for 5 minutes, or until golden brown, moving them only slightly to make sure they are being evenly caramelized.

Meanwhile, in a small sauce pan set to medium heat, make a simple brown sugar syrup by mixing 1/3 cup water with 1/3 cup brown sugar. Oh, oh, oh and don’t forget to slit open a vanilla bean, scrape out the goodness, and add the beans and pod to the sugar/water mixture while it dissolves into a caramelly bliss.

Carmelized Pears

When you see golden brown, flip the be-e-a-u-tiful pears onto their little hineys and add the vanilla syrup to the skillet. Let them cook for another 10 minutes until cooked through.

Carmelized Pears

Look at the glassy juices that accumulated in each pear. Completely drinkable.

Pear Dessert

Thin plain Greek yogurt with a little milk by whisking them together or use plain yogurt to spoon across each pear. Sprinkle a small pinch of ground cinnamon or nutmeg as a finishing touch. I swear the Greek yogurt is reminiscent of vanilla bean ice cream when melded with the vanilla sauce. Délicieux!

I pray your mornings are filled with the golden glow of a hopeful sunrise and your palate with the warmth of winter pears.



This recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit.

Caramelized Vanilla Pears

Serves: 6
This recipe is adapted from Bon Appétit. The type of pear is not as important as the ripeness of the pears you choose. Ripe pears will caramelize better, emit more liquid into the vanilla sauce, and cook through faster. Also, if the pears can cook through without a covered lid, then the crisp caramelization texture remains on the cut-side of the pear, which adds a glorious texture combination with the yogurt. Plain yogurt can be substituted for the greek yogurt and milk.
  • 3 pears (Bosc, Anjou, or Bartlett), halved and cores removed
  • Raw sugar or granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt (fat-free)
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • Ground nutmeg or cinnamon (optional garnish)
  1. In a large skillet, melt butter on medium high heat. Meanwhile, halve the pears, remove their cores, and sprinkle ½ teaspoon of granulated sugar on the cut-side of each pear. When butter is melted and hot, place pears cut-side down in the butter and let them cook for 5 minutes, or until golden brown. Move them around if needed for an even caramelization.
  2. In a small sauce pan, whisk together brown sugar and seeds from vanilla beans. Then add water and the scraped bean to the pan. Set to medium heat and stir occasionally until sugar is dissolved.
  3. Once the pears are golden brown, flip them over and add the vanilla syrup to the skillet.**If the pears are very ripe and tender when the cooking began:
  4. Let cook for another 10 minutes or until cooked through and the syrup with thicken in the meantime.**If pears were not ripe and tender when the cooking began:
  5. Let cook with lid on for 10 minutes or until cooked through. Remove pears from skillet and let syrup cook uncovered for 3-5 minutes at a simmer until it thickens.
  6. Whisk together plain Greek yogurt and milk until thoroughly combined. To serve the pears, place each pear on a plate or in a bowl and spoon on extra vanilla sauce. Then spoon yogurt over each pear and sprinkle with a pinch of ground nutmeg or cinnamon if desired. Serve immediately.

**note the different instructions depending on the ripeness of the pears being used.



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