Salted Honey Caramelized Pears

September 13, 2011
0 Ratings
  • Serves 2 to 4
Author Notes

When you’re entertaining for family and friends, it’s good to have a simple yet impressive dessert up your sleeve. This is that dessert for me –and you’ll be just as proud serving it as something that takes you three times as long to prepare.

Recently my husband and I ate at Craft in NYC, and for dessert, we had an unforgettable salted honey ice cream. I’ve been obsessed with salted honey ever since. I knew I wanted to combine it with pears as soon as I saw this week’s contest theme. I decided to create a salted honey caramel, then roast a few halved pears in the sauce (basting a few times along the way) until they’re soft and the sauce bubbly. To make the sauce, I used turbinado instead of granulated sugar, both water and pear juice (a nod to Karen DeMasco’s caramelized roasted peaches) and a few sprigs of lemon thyme while roasting the pears (a nod to Claudia Fleming’s chestnut honey-roasted pears). It’s a completely addictive, easy-to-prepare dessert – one that uses a single pan (an important detail if you detest washing dishes like I do) and can be easily doubled, tripled, etc. depending on your number of guests.

The pears are delicious served on their own, or with some crème fraiche, ricotta or vanilla ice cream on the side. They’d also be fabulous with a simple pound cake or almond cake. Or even as a topping for pancakes or greek yogurt…the possibilities are endless!

What You'll Need
  • 2 large firm pears, peeled, then cut in half and cored (you can leave stems intact if you like)
  • 1/4 cup turbinado sugar
  • 2 tablespoons your favorite honey (I used chestnut honey)
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons pear or apple juice
  • A generous pinch of fleur de sel
  • 2 large springs of thyme
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. In a sauce pan, just large enough to fit 4 halved pears, combine the turbinado sugar, honey, and water. Cook over medium heat, without stirring, until the sugar is fully dissolved and the sauce is a deep golden caramel color – about 6 to 8 minutes. There’s no need to use a candy thermometer here – just go by the color, which will be a shade or two darker than your starting point. Off the heat, add the pear juice and fleur de sel, and stir to combine.
  3. Next, add the halved pears, cut-side down, to the caramel sauce, and simmer over medium-low heat until they begin to caramelize around the edges, about 5 to 7 minutes. Nestle the sprigs of thyme around the pears. (Note: you don't need to double or triple the amount of thyme if you're making this for a crowd; two or three sprigs should be plenty.)
  4. Into your oven: Roast for about 15 minutes (still cut-side down), basting the pears once with the sauce. Flip the pears so they’re cut-side up, and roast for about 10 to 15 minutes longer, basting once more, until the pears are soft and tender and cooked through. Total cooking time will depend on the ripeness of your pears.
  5. Serve warm or at room temperature, with extra sauce drizzled over the pears. See headnote for serving ideas.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • wssmom
  • BlueKaleRoad
  • cookinginvictoria
  • inpatskitchen
  • Lizthechef

Recipe by: EmilyC

I'm a home cook. I love salads. Two things you'll always find in my refrigerator are lemons and butter, and in my pantry good quality chocolate and the makings for chocolate chip cookies.

27 Reviews

wssmom September 16, 2011
I love that this is not only yummy sounding, but fast! And easy! Saved!
EmilyC September 16, 2011
Thanks so much, wssmom! I haven't tried this (because I devoured them all), but I'll bet the pears could be roasted in advance and gently reheated before serving, making them even better for entertaining.
BlueKaleRoad September 15, 2011
Just saved! I am in charge of dessert tomorrow night and can't wait to make these pears to serve with pumpkin cake. Welcome autumn!
EmilyC September 15, 2011
Oh, I'm so excited to hear this, BKR! What a great idea to serve them with pumpkin cake...yum. Let me know how they turn out!
BlueKaleRoad September 19, 2011
The pears were a hit and delicious with the cake. I just did a blog post to share: http://www.bluekaleroad.com/2011/09/pumpkin-cake-with-salted-honey.html. Thanks again for the recipe!
BlueKaleRoad September 19, 2011
Woops, the link didn't work...here it is again: http://www.bluekaleroad.com/2011/09/pumpkin-cake-with-salted-honey.html
EmilyC September 19, 2011
I'm so happy that your pears turned out well! Love the photos of them, and I really enjoyed your blog post. I'm going to try your pumpkin cake...I'm in need of a good recipe. Thanks again for reporting back!
cookinginvictoria September 14, 2011
Wow, Emily -- looks both simple and sensational. What a great recipe -- the salted honey flavors sound divine. I love that you gave nods to both Claudia Fleming and Karen DeMasco, two of my all-timefavorite cookbook authors and pastry chefs. Sounds amazing too to pair this with creme fraiche or ricotta cheese. (I must try Jennifer Perillo's homemade ricotta cheese soon once I can find squeeze in some time for recreational cooking!) We are just starting to see local pears at our markets here, so I will try this soon. I also may make this with Gravenstein apples from our tree in the backyard. We have a bumper crop this year!
EmilyC September 14, 2011
Thanks CIV! Gosh, apples would be a great substitute here, especially ones from your backyard! And I couldn't agree more on C. Fleming and K. DeMasco...I treasure my copies of The Last Course and The Craft of Baking. I pull them off my shelf constantly for inspiration.
inpatskitchen September 14, 2011
I'm with AJ.. homemade ricotta and these pears...YUM!
EmilyC September 14, 2011
Yep -- AJ's definitely on to something! If I had some handy, I'd whip up another batch of these pears in a second. Maybe this is my calling to actually make ricotta -- something I've never done...
AntoniaJames September 14, 2011
EmilyC, ricotta is astonishingly easy to make. I like Jennifer Perillo's recipe the most, by far . . . and I've tried quite a few different recipes. Hers is rich, delicious and foolproof. And it's right here on food52. Follow the instructions to the letter. Jennifer spent quite a long time experimenting with ricotta and she has succeeded in producing the absolute best recipe, ever, anywhere. Now, go buy whatever you need, and make some!! ;o) P.S. Save the whey for making bread, biscuits, muffins, etc. It freezes perfectly, so don't throw it out!
EmilyC September 14, 2011
Consider me motivated -- thanks AJ! I'll definitely use Jennifer's recipe. I can only imagine how good the homemade stuff is...
Lizthechef September 13, 2011
This is a winner in my book. Thumbs up!
EmilyC September 14, 2011
Thanks so much, Liz!
drbabs September 13, 2011
Oh so good. Great recipe. Salted honey ice cream? Seriously?
EmilyC September 13, 2011
Seriously. It's one of the most memorable things I've tasted in a long time. Of course we only had a tiny ramekin of it (you know, fine dining style) but I would have gladly devoured a big bowl of it. And this was after a huge meal...
Bevi September 13, 2011
This is so easy. Great!
EmilyC September 13, 2011
Easy -- my favorite kind of dessert! : )
hardlikearmour September 13, 2011
These sound gorgeous! Love it, Emily!
EmilyC September 13, 2011
Thanks HLA! I think I'll be making these a lot this fall. And after having salted honey ice cream, I'm dying to try my hand at making salted honey-pear ice cream...but alas, for another time...
hardlikearmour September 13, 2011
Ooohh.... You HAVE to make the ice cream!
EmilyC September 14, 2011
I think you're right. So many recipes to try, so little time! : )
AntoniaJames September 13, 2011
Wow, this is amazing. I'm drooling just thinking about these, warm on a plate with some fresh (as in, made-in-my-kitchen-today) ricotta. This makes me want to plan a dinner party just to serve this. ;o)
EmilyC September 13, 2011
Thanks AJ! And oh goodness, homemade ricotta would be heavenly here! And I'm with you, I'd like to serve these at a dinner party, too...so easy to pull off with great results!
lapadia September 14, 2011
Loving the ricotta idea, great recipe, Emily C!
EmilyC September 14, 2011
Thanks so much, lapadia!