Dulce de Leche has quickly become this blog's most popular post. The one-step recipe for caramel has generated more traffic, more comments, and more general excitement on this end of things than any other post. I was thrilled to read so many great comments offering alternative names for the treat, as well as several creative recipe ideas. I'm planning on trying the one with a graham cracker crust soon!
Here's one more way to use all that caramel sitting in all of our fridges: top poached pears with it.
I generally poach pears in marsala or port. This time, I tried something different: someone brought a "young cabernet" to our house for dinner recently, and I had the rest of it in the fridge. Young cabernet is -- obviously -- not fully aged, so it's rather sweet, though not as sweet as traditional dessert wines. (Can you tell that I'm no wine expert?) Anyway, I thought it made the perfect poaching liquid for my relatively unripe but very flavorful bosc pears.
The method is pretty simple: Slice pears lengthwise, place in a saucepan in a single layer, and pour liquid overtop (about 1 1/2 cups per pear). Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for approximately 30 minutes, until pears are easily pierced with a knife. Stir every so often and check to make sure the liquid doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan.
After pears are soft, transfer them to a serving platter, turn up the heat slightly, and cook the liquid uncovered until it reduces enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Drizzle (ok, pour) over pears. Top with a healthy spoonful of cajeta (the caramel) and, if you have some on hand, a bit of mascarpone. If you don't have mascarpone, try sour cream, whipped cream, or even yogurt.