Serious Eats: Recipes

How to Make Caramel Pears

A more grown-up version of my childhood favorite made with pears, hazelnuts, and cinnamon sticks.

[Photographs: Jenny McCoy]

I recently decided to make caramel apples for the first time. Not the bright red, hard candy-shelled type, but the sticky, gooey version from my childhood—all rolled up in a tight weave of ground peanuts, of course.

When I was little, I remember visiting the Affy Tapple outlet on North Clark Street in Chicago with my mother on weekends. The trip was followed by a stop at the Romanian Kosher Butcher, just a block down, for beef hot dogs and summer sausage. I'm pretty sure she chose the sweet shop first, to distract me with the sticky mess.

So when I mentioned the caramel apples to Erin Zimmer, my new favorite friend at Serious Eats, we were in the midst of holiday madness and finding the time to dip apples seemed difficult (I envisioned Christmas gifts covered in sticky fingerprints, and loose peanuts in my buche de noel). She assured me that caramel apples would still be in vogue in 2010, and not to worry.

Well, I didn't.

Instead, I started dreaming up new ideas, and after running into Ed Levine on New Year's Eve, came up with some creative ideas.

20100108-caramelpears-in-nuts3.jpg

Since I'm not seven-years-old anymore (although some might agree I still behave like I am), and have managed to find my way into a professional kitchen (clearly, I was lost that day), I thought I should create a more grown-up version of my childhood favorite with apples: introducing caramel pears.

They are covered in toasted hazelnuts (thanks for the tip, Ed) and even garnished with cinnamon sticks. A little cellophane and raffia and I might put Affy Tapple out of business.

Caramel Pears

About the author: About the author: Jenny McCoy is the pastry chef at A Voce in New York City. When she's not covered in flour or frying bomboloni, you can find her strolling the streets of Fort Greene, Brooklyn, with her little dog Olive.

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