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Caramel-Coated Seckel Pears

These pears are a sweet accompaniment to different cakes and even gingerbread.

  • Yield: Serves 8

Source: Martha Stewart Living, December/January 1992/1993

Ingredients

  • 1 bottle dry white wine
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 lemon, cut in half
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • Several cloves
  • Several peppercorns
  • 16 Seckel pears
  • 1/2 cup water

Directions

  1. Combine wine, 1 cup of the sugar, 1 lemon half, and spices in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil; simmer for 10 minutes.

  2. Peel pears carefully, retaining stems. Sprinkle with juice from remaining lemon half. Add pears to poaching liquid and bring to a bare simmer.

  3. Cover pears with a lid slightly smaller than the pot to keep them submerged. Cook for 10 to 30 minutes, depending on size and ripeness of pears. Rearrange pears once or twice to ensure even cooking. Cool in poaching liquid; refrigerate overnight.

  4. Remove pears from liquid, discarding liquid, and drain on paper towels. Dry pears as much as possible and set aside. Combine remaining 2 cups sugar and the water in a medium, heavy saucepan over low heat. Stir occasionally, until sugar dissolves. Cover pan and bring to a boil. Leave cover on until condensation washes down the insides of the pan. Set a large pan of cold water near stove. Turn heat to medium high and boil syrup, without stirring, until it becomes a deep amber. Carefully plunge bottom of pot into pan of cold water to stop the cooking.

  5. Holding each pear by the stem, carefully dip in hot caramel and set on a lightly oiled baking sheet. When pears have been dipped, drizzle remaining caramel over tops. Let cool; serve within 30 minutes.

Cook's Notes

The pears must be poached at least a day ahead of serving.

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