These treats -- coated with caramel, bittersweet chocolate, and toasted almonds -- are a sophisticated alternative to caramel apples; they're best eaten the day they are made. You can buy Seckel pears at farmers' markets and some supermarkets. If you can't find them, any other small pears will also work.
Martha Stewart Living, October 2004
- 1 1/2 cups blanched almonds
- 10 twigs or wooden dowels
- 10 Seckel pears, or other small variety pears, washed and stemmed
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup dark corn syrup
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 7 ounces best-quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 1 tablespoon shortening
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place almonds on an ungreased baking sheet, and toast in oven until golden, about 10 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack, and let cool. Coarsely chop almonds, and set aside.
- Carefully wash and dry twigs, if using them. Insert a 5-inch twig or wooden dowel into the top of each pear. Set the pears on an 11-by-17-inch baking sheet lined with a Silpat (a French nonstick baking mat). Set aside. Fill a medium bowl with ice and water, and set aside.
- Place sugar, corn syrup, cream, and butter in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Continue cooking until the temperature registers 245 degrees on a candy thermometer, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat, and immediately plunge the saucepan into ice water to stop the cooking. Dip one pear into the caramel to coat, using a spoon if necessary. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining pears.
- In a double boiler over low heat, melt chocolate and shortening. Remove from heat. Dip caramel-coated pears into chocolate, and immediately roll in chopped almonds. Return coated pear to the Silpat-lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining pears. Chill until the chocolate is set, about 15 minutes.
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