5 Ingredients or Fewer

Lindsey Shere's Baked Caramel Pears

November 17, 2015
3 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 6
Author Notes

With 5 ingredients and about 20 minutes, you'll have a pure, joyful dessert that looks festive as all get out, which you will have casually winged together as others clear the table or between rounds of after-dinner charades. Recipe adapted slightly from Chez Panisse Desserts (Random House, 1985). —Genius Recipes

What You'll Need
  • 3 large, very ripe Comice pears (Barlett, D'Anjou, or Warren are good alternatives)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • Pinch of salt, plus more flaky salt to serve (optional)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped pecans or almonds, lightly toasted
  1. Heat the oven to 375° F. Halve, core, and peel the pears. (Editors Note: A melon baller is a perfect coring tool, and you can leave them unpeeled if you prefer.) Choose a flameproof dish such as an enameled iron one or large ovenproof skillet, and put the pears in it, rounded side down.
  2. Cut the butter into bits and distribute them over the pear halves. Sprinkle with the sugar and put the dish in the oven. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, basting occasionally with the juices. The pears will be ready if tender when pierced in their thickest part with a sharp knife.
  3. Remove the pears from the dish, allowing all the juice to drain back into it and adding any of the undissolved sugar still remaining in the pear cavities.
  4. Set the dish over high heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture turns a light caramel color. It will look very thick and bubbly, because of the butter and pear juice in it. Pour in the cream and bring to a boil, adding a pinch of salt if you like. Cook until the sauce is smooth. It will darken and turn a rich brown after you pour in the cream.
  5. Serve a warm pear half to each person with some of the sauce spooned over it. Sprinkle with the nuts, and serve with flaky salt on the side, if you like. This is very simple but the flavors of the ripe pears combine wonderfully with the smooth, rich caramel.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • AntoniaJames
  • booglix
  • John Scott Major
    John Scott Major
  • Transcendancing
  • Kristen Miglore
    Kristen Miglore
Genius Recipes

Recipe by: Genius Recipes

13 Reviews

AntoniaJames December 26, 2017
Quite good. I served with maple-sweetened Greek yogurt, alongside our Christmas pudding (Jamaican edition, made with dark rum and a touch of molasses). Will definitely make this again. ;o)
blima January 20, 2016
can I make ahead and then how would I serve it?
booglix December 9, 2015
This was good, but frankly, not better than ripe, juicy, Comice pears on their own! When they are at their peak, I prefer them fresh and pure.
TERRYE H. November 23, 2015
I think a splash of Calvados will add just the right kick.
John S. November 22, 2015
Read this around 5 pm, and at 6:03, I have already made this twice. It is like MAGIC? My next thought is what else could I make this with. I am in the South and my first thought is peaches, but that will require waiting till Summer. One skillet and it rinses clean (what I have not licked out). I had all the ingredients but did not have heavy cream, so I used half and half. Tomorrow Ill try with cream. Can't imagine it could get much better, though? I passed up a chance to buy a Boos cart that has an induction cooker on it. This would be so great to bake the pears while dinner is going on and finish the sauce on the little cart in the dining room, living room, or on our porch. I think Ill go make it again.
Transcendancing November 23, 2015
It's almost Summer here in Australia, and I'm very tempted to try this with peaches or other summer fruit - any suggestions on how you'd do it? (I'll let you know the results!)
John S. November 23, 2015
I would do it exactly the same way. It is GREAT with the pears, but pears are kind of boring. I thought about making this with fresh local peaches all day. Also you could make it with fresh ripe cherries, too. maybe with figs? I have 3 little fig trees that still have figs on them. I am not sure they will ripen before frost here in Nashville, Tn, USA, though?

I was actually thinking of trying this with tomatoes. I read an article YEARS ago about using tomatoes as the fruit that they are and not just as a vegetable. I actually TRIED to make a caramel sauce but it did not ever work out. The article was using the caramel to dehydrate the water out of the tomatoes. I think this may be my answer?
Transcendancing November 24, 2015
I will give it a go soon and see what happens :)
Julie November 22, 2015
I love these! They're delicious and so easy to make. I altered mine slightly by adding a little moscato to the baking pan because I just wanted wine. I also substituted the nuts for macerated berries. It was delicious!
Bakermom1 November 22, 2015
Do you think this would work with a sturdy tart/ sweet apple instead of the pear?
AntoniaJames November 18, 2015
Whoa, yes. Looking forward to trying this. ASAP. ;o)
northport November 18, 2015
Is it possible to make this ahead and rewarm just before serving?
Kristen M. November 19, 2015
Yes, you can—the pears can be a bit delicate, so just reheat gently in the oven (I'd do about 200 degrees).