This is a true winter dessert, and one of my favorites.
You will need:
- A kilo of coarse salt
- a deep oven pan (at least 7cm/2.5″ deep) sometimes called a “roasting pan”
- brown sugar
Heat oven to 350F/180C.
Arrange the pears stems-up in the pan. Cover pears with salt, allowing just the stems to stick out. Bake until pears are tender when pricked with a fork, 60 to 75 minutes.
While pears are cooking, heat 1 cup brown sugar and 2 tablespoons water in a small saucepan over medium heat until sugar has dissolved.
Cook, without stirring, until syrup comes to a boil, washing down sides of pan with a wet pastry brush several times to prevent crystals from forming.
Let boil, swirling pan occasionally, until medium amber.
Cut 2 tbsp butter into small pieces.
Remove from heat, and carefully stir in the butter and 1/3 cup heavy cream (the caramel will steam and spatter).
Remove pears from the salt, allowing a small amount to cling to each pear.
Place each pear on a small dessert plate.
Pour caramel sauce over top, and serve.