Having noticed a recent trend for salted caramel (be it on popcorn or in a multitude of desserts) and experienced some salted caramel chocolates, I drew on the rather pleasant experience to put together a dessert recipe, which is relatively simple and rather satisfying in the presentation and in the flavour combinations on the plate.
The salty and sweet tang of the caramel, umami* and saltiness of the Stilton in combination with the poached soft fruit gives a solid combination for an unusual twist on a classic dessert.
*(For those not familiar with it, umami is the 5th taste and most recently discovered, there’s loads around the Internet trying to pin down the flavour descriptively – just have a look around!).
Ingredients (four pears comfortably):
4 Conference or Dessert Pears
Enough water to just immerse the pears in a pan
75ml of Dark Rum
50g Brown Sugar
1 handful of sultanas
50g of Blue Stilton cheese
…and for the salted caramel sauce:
50g of Butter (unsalted)
125g of White Sugar
25g of Brown Sugar or Muscovado Sugar
150ml of double cream
1tsp of Salt (table or sea salt is fine)
2tsp Dark Rum
1. Peel the pears of all their skin, leaving the stem at the top intact. Now slice horizontally across the bottom of the pear to allow it to stand upright on a chopping board or plate.
2. Bring the water to a simmer and pour in the sugar, allowing the sugar to dissolve. Once it has all dissolved, place the pears into the water and let them simmer for 12-15 minutes.
3. For the final 5-3 minutes (so that’s a cooking time in total of 15-20 minutes for the pears), add the rum and sultanas to the mix. At the end, the pears should be soft enough to slide off a knife once pierced, so you’ll have to keep an eye on them and use your judgement!
4. Heat up a small saucepan and then combine the Butter, sugars and rum in the pan, once the sugar is dissolving, add the cream and salt to the mix, continually stirring in the pan until the mix thickens and darkens.
5. Chop the Blue Stilton into small ½ inch cubes where possible, then plate up the pears, sultanas and Stilton cubes, finally placing the pear in the centre and then drizzling with the caramel sauce.
Let me know how you get on if you give this dish a try and feel free to post pictures of the outcome!!