This blog may kill me. I will be disfigured horribly by leaving my arm in the Kitchen Aid while trying to cream butter and sugar. Pie crust dough will come alive into a vengeful blob of buttery goodness and attack my face. These would sound like ridiculous, stupid ideas had I not given myself third degree burns on my feet today while making honey roasted pears.
Before I get to that though: the pears. They ripened under my watchful eye and I ate a few raw. Blissful. One tasted like a raspberry, which was a bit weird, but not bad—pear-raspberry crossbreed? Awesome idea, nature. When most of the pears were ripe, I knew exactly what I was going to make: honey roasted pears in caramel sauce. The recipe was from The Sweet Life, a dessert book my dad gave me that I can’t stop looking at despite the fact that every recipe uses obscene amounts of butter. Unsurprisingly (and unfortunately), everything I’ve baked from there is amazing.
The recipe itself is pretty easy, it just takes forever to make. Basically, you peel some pears, plop them in a roasting dish and pour sugar, honey, water into the pan, adding a couple strips of lemon zest. Pop them into a freakishly hot over (425 degrees) and rotate them for an hour and a half, the last 45 minutes basting them with the caramel that has formed in the bottom of the pan.
I didn’t have much trouble with the recipe and didn’t burn myself once during the process, that joyful event came later. I will say the pears were hard to rotate when they were soft and the approximate temperature as molten lava. I took to carefully grabbing the stems and dragging them around that way, the tongs and spatula seemed to squish them too much.
The one problem I had was that the sauce that formed became too dark, which is really my fault, I was using smaller and fewer pears than the recipe called for and shouldn’t have left them in the oven as long as the recipe called for. The pears were fine but the caramel tasted burnt. No problem, I thought, I’ll just whip up a batch of caramel to serve them with.
And therein began the problem. Sugar in pan. Okay, check. Sugar browning, double check. Add some butter. No prob, I was made for this. Add a bunch of cream to thin it out. Alright. Add some raspberry preserves for extra deliciousness. I managed all that without a singed hair.
There were some sugar crystals in the caramel so I was stirring the caramel vigorously to incorporate it. I took the spoon out of the pan to transfer to the little drip catcher plate thing. And then I dripped 400 degree caramel all over my foot.
Alright, I exaggerate a tad. I don't know how hot it was, candy thermometers are for the weak. Also, I don't think we own one. The caramel was probably only around 200-250 degrees. Only.
I instantly crumpled onto the kitchen floor in agony. I desperately tried to peel the caramel off my foot and then proceeded to burn my hand with the residual—but still extraordinarily hot— molten sugar. Obviously in shock, I was more worried about the state of the caramel and proceeded to simultaneously stick my left foot and hand under cold water in the sink while turning my right side to stir the caramel on the stove. I’m glad my roommate was too engrossed in video games to walk in at that moment because if he had laughed, I probably would’ve mauled him. So great, third degree burns on my foot and hand. Fucking caramel. I honestly don’t swear (unless, say, I’ve just poured a 400 degree sticky liquid all over my extremities) so you can take that to heart.
The pears are freaking amazing though, nearly worth it. And my improved and deadly raspberry caramel sauce was heavenly. BJ—roommate—declared while practically licking the bowl that the pears were delicious, “like crack”. To which I said, “I know. They better be.” And then I stuck a 2 lb bag of frozen corn on my heat-blistered spattered foot.
So stay tuned for my next baking adventure, where I may or may not lose an eye!