This is a good one.
It’s pear season! Fresh pear season is underway, with all 10 varieties of USA Pears being harvested now. Pears are one of my favorite fruits because they’re less acidic than apples but just as versatile in the kitchen. They’re also very hearty so we have them a couple of times a week because the kids will always eat them and I’d much rather have them filling up on pears than french fries!
Today’s recipe, however, is for the grown ups of the house and I made it to celebrate my dad and stepmom’s birthday (both today!) because it’s that kind of good. Stop-everything-party-on-the-table good.
If you’ve never poached pears before, it’s a really easy thing to do that results in an impressive looking dessert. You can also poach pears even if they’re a little underripe, which is a good thing if you don’t want to wait to eat them. Most of the time I poach fruit in wine with a little sugar, but you can use any liquid out there so for this one I used some pumpkin ale.
When you poach pears in beer, they’re still sweet but there’s just a hint of smokiness and bitterness that I really love, especially when I add a little salted caramel sauce. Seriously, considering this whole recipe takes about a half hour, this is one you need to remember.
Pumpkin Ale Poached Pears with Salted Caramel Sauce
For the pears:
/// two bottles of pumpkin ale
/// 5 USA pears (any variety – I used Green Anjou)
/// 1/4 cup sugar
For the caramel sauce:
/// 1 1/2 cups sugar
// 1/2 cup butter at room temperature
/// 3/4 cup heavy cream at room temperature
/// pinch of sea salt
To poach the pears, you need to skin them and set them in a pot with the sugar and pumpkin ale. Bring the pot to a boil and let them simmer for 15 minutes, occasionally turning the pears over so all sides are covered. The best part about using pumpkin ale is that the pears get this beautiful honey color to them so you want to keep it consistent. After 15 minutes, remove from heat and let them sit in the poaching liquid while you make the sauce.
To make the caramel sauce, the first thing you need to do is set everything in little bowls right where you can reach it. Not kidding, you need to go all Rachel Ray on this. Caramel sauce is really easy and fun to make but it’s testy and you can’t walk away from it so get your cream and butter where you can reach them.
Start the sauce by putting the sugar in a saucepan and stirring it with a rubber spatula over medium/low heat until it liquifies. It takes a while and it will get a little hard to stir before it starts to cooperate, but just be patient and keep it moving so it doesn’t burn. Also, don’t turn up the heat to make this go any faster – it should take about 6 minutes and turning the heat up will just burn it.
As soon as the sugar is liquified, add the butter. It really does need to be room temperature because if it’s too cold it will mess your caramel right up. As it is, it should bubble like crazy but you should be able to mix it in easily as long as you keep stirring and once it’s all melted you can add your cream (also room temperature) in a steady stream as you keep stirring. If it starts to seize up at all, just keep mixing it in and it should smooth out.
Stir for about another minute after the cream is added and then remove from heat and stir in the sea salt. Voila! Fast and delicious.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.