Caramel Pear Mice
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 4 small ripe pears, such as Anjou or Forelle (about 2 pounds)
- 36 (6-inch) wooden skewers
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 3/4 cup dark corn syrup
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup heavy cream, divided
- 1/2 vanilla bean or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- Pinch salt
- Black sesame seeds for eyes
- Pink or yellow candy buttons, for decoration nose
Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or foil. Spray with nonstick cooking spray.
Just before you make the caramel, core and cut pears into eight wedges, blunting the cut side so that it can lay on a flat surface peel side up. Place a skewer into each wedge, cover with paper towel, and set aside.
Combine sugars, corn syrup, butter, 1/2 cup heavy cream, vanilla and nutmeg in a heavy sauce pot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. When the mixture has come to a brisk boil, slowly add in the remaining cream, keep the mixture boiling. Be sure to wipe any extra sugar from the side of the pot. Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pot with the tip immersed. Boil the mixture briskly, stirring gently, until the mixture registers 240 degrees F on the candy thermometer, about 10 minutes. Immediately remove from the heat. Pour the caramel into a medium heat proof bowl using a rubber spatula so that you do not scrape the bottom of the pot. Let caramel rest until it thickens and cools slightly, about 3 minutes.
Blot excess moisture from the pears using the paper towels. Dip pears completely into caramel, swirling until it is fully coated, allow excess to drip off slightly. Place on prepared sheet pan. Decorate with black sesame seeds for eyes and candy button noses, while the caramel is still soft. Repeat until all the pears are dipped. Allow to cool until firm about 30 minutes. Serve.
Cook's Note: As the caramel cools during dipping, it may stiffen and be too thick or slide off on the pear. Just reheat in microwave, checking at 20 second intervals until at the desired dipping consistency.
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