Apple & Pear Desserts: Awesome in Autumn / by Julie Schumacher

My love for apples and pears is kind of unhinged. They are just so damn versatile. Throw 'em in pancakes. In salads. Partner them with cheese. And desserts? Heavenly. And, since they are at peak awesome in autumn I wanted to showcase them without baking them into something (not that there is anything wrong with that!) for our Fall salon

First up, how 'bout them apples?

Dipping apples in caramel sauce was what I was thinking about. So fall and fun. I floated the idea and Kelly mentioned giving the apples a little assist to stay tasty and photogenic. The browning of a sliced apple can be prevented with lemon juice but we wanted them to be photogenic and tasty. Cue cinnamon sugar apples from Bon Appétit. This has now become a regular in rotation for a quick treat.

Tart apple wise, I used this resource to pick and settled on Jonagold, which are sweet tart. See, I can improvise.

Salted caramel sauce recipes abound, thank you very much Internet. I settled on this one from Two Peas & Their Pod as I've used their recipes before to great success. A note: It came out so, so dark and I thought I had botched it (the theme of the salon pre for me, for sure). The next day I took the jars out of the fridge and was elated that they were that heavenly perfect caramel color. Caramelization is a process and has stages so if you prefer a deeper color/richer taste, keep on cooking it and don't fret as much as I do.

Before we served it, I sprinkled some of my best friend Maldon on top.

And now, for a way more complicated seeming dish: cornmeal pound cake with rosemary syrup, poached pears & candied rosemary

For as much as is going on with this dish (whole vanilla beans, cracked black pepper, simple syrups, candied herbs!) it was remarkably easy to make. Even better, our house smelled so good. Like lick the walls good.

None of the elements was particularly challenging. I also like that each and every component could stand on its own or play nicely with other friends. The pound cake needs a flavorful buddy to add some moisture to it, though it certainly could be things beyond this recipe as its a great balance of sweet and not super sweet.  The candied rosemary would make a gorgeous holiday garnish. Up your gin fizz game with the rosemary simple syrup.

The poached pears are something you could easily serve with ice cream or, heck, alone as a dessert. So pretty. So yummy. This was my pear primer in selecting one that would work well poached. How amazing is food that some pears break apart and some don't when  you cook them? Chemistry! I love stuff like that. Oh, and I used Bosc pears here.

Enjoy Fall's bounty, friends. A long winter approaches.