Roasted Apples and Pears with Caramels Recipe

Pommes et Poires aux Caramels

[Apples and Pears with Caramels]

I love having friends over for an impromptu weeknight dinner. I love going out to restaurants too, I’ve probably made that clear by now, but having them at home is something else entirely — warmer and more intimate. It allows you to choose your own musical ambiance (a nice random mix from the Squeezebox), move to the couch for a good cup of tea after dinner, and have conversations that you wouldn’t dream of letting anyone overhear in a crowded bistro. Although admittedly, that means no eavesdropping for you either.

On such occasions I like to keep things casual and homey, and while I sometimes take the opportunity to cook something a little involved, I often prepare dishes that I would make for myself — usually just a main course and a simple dessert. In a way, I think this can make your friends feel even more welcome: they’re part of the family and you’re comfortable enough with them that you don’t need to put on a show and prepare a feast if you’re a bit tired or pressed for time.

Last week when my friend Laurence came to dinner it was freezing, and warm apples and pears sounded like the perfect dessert option. I was about to bake them with just a little sugar, when I saw a little box of salted butter caramels on the counter, a souvenir from Brittany, and thought I would use a few to sweeten the fruit instead.

This was very quickly put together — just a bit of peeling and coring and chopping while we chatted. And as the pears and apples baked, as they turned golden, the caramel chips melted and blended with the syrupy juices seeping from the fruit, creating a fragrant and buttery sauce. A few spoonfuls of this warm and soft compote, served in a glass and topped with a little dollop of crème fraîche, was unanimously described as a crustless tarte tatin — just what we needed.

Pommes et Poires aux Caramels

– 4 apples
– 4 pears
– 2 Tbsp crème fraîche or heavy cream
– 8 salted butter caramels, about 3 ounces

Preheat the oven to 200° C (400° F).

Peel, quarter and core the apples and pears. Cut them in bite-size pieces and toss with the cream in a large baking dish. Chop the caramels and sprinkle over the fruit. Cover the dish with foil and put into the oven to bake for 10 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 20 to 25 minutes, until softened and golden. Let cool for a few minutes on the counter and serve warm, on its own or with a little crème fraîche.

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  • Mmmm, geat !

  • Adele

    My daughter and I do something similar at home for a quick dessert or sweet treat any time of the day. We use prepared dulce de leche, heated in the microwave briefly, as a dip or sauce for cut up granny smith apples and/or bosc pears. Next time I’m going to try the same, with a sprinkle of sea salt. Yum.

  • One thing I have found unusual is that the French don’t use cinnamon in dessert with bakied apples, at least I can’t remember a dish with it. My French husband hates it but I just think apples and cinnamon go so well together. Having said that, I love Tarte Tartin-no cinnamon but I like that kind of burned sugar taste.

  • Sabrina

    I don’t think I’ve ever had salted caramels. Would adding a pinch or two of salt have the same effect, do you think?

  • ah, having an impromptu weekday dinner ‘party’ sounds so nice. Partly because housing is so small (but also for other more cultural reasons) people almost never invite others over for that kind of thing in Japan. Most people just go out for dinner, which is fine of course, but it would be so great if it was as common as in the ‘west’.

  • Quel dessert est le plus mysterieux?

    ….. Tarte TA- TIN!

    OK, an oldie and a goodie amongst the under 10 crowd. Tarte tatin with or without the crust…. hmm! Classic French!

  • Sounds and looks great as usual! I wanted to make an oven compote but with caramels it became quite an emergency to try this combo.

  • Oh. My. I think this is something that would make me weak in the knees just to smell and taste. Now I am just KICKING myself for not taking salted caramels when I was in my beloved Brittany last. < >

  • clean plate club

    What to do for those us not near Brittany, so far away from salted caramels? Would a tiny bit of salt work?

  • This looks yummy! Do you have a recipe for salted caramels? Thanks.

  • Very simple… but so delicious!

  • Sabrina and Clean Plate Club – I think “saltwater taffy” is close enough. That could work if you find it, or use simple caramels and a pinch of salt…

  • Terila

    I got some sea salt caramels made by a woman who lived in Brittany learning how to make them. She is local here in Los Angeles.

    When I tasted them my taste buds woke up and did a double take. They are extraordinary!

    Here is the site:

    But they are closed for the Christmas holiday right now.


  • Michel

    I must tell you that “Salt Water Taffy” is not the same as salted caramels. Salt water taffy has no salt content at all, it is simply called by that name because it was originally made at a beach resort in the USA. Salt Water Taffy is not caramelized but rather cooked to a certain stage on the candy thermometer and pulled many times (in the old days by hand but now it is done by machines) and then flavored with all sorts of flavorings that will reduce you apple pear concoction to a mess. So, unsuspecting Americans please do not think you can replace salted caramels with salt water taffy.

  • Michel – Thanks for the correction!

  • Lindsay Bracy

    are you able to buy salted caramels at any grocery store?

  • Gidget

    Ohh! Michel to the rescue! Having grown up in the home town of salt water taffy(Atlantic City, NJ, USA), I was mortified by the suggestion to use it as a substitute for salt caramels. Thankfully Michel caught this before someone ended up with a disasterous mess. BTW, Salt Water Taffy is a wonderful treat! I attached a link for interested people.

  • gunilla schmidt

    Dear Clotilde,
    It looks nice. I will try it. In my home in the south of Sweden lives a girl from Paris. She is a student at the Lund university, Polytechnics. The 2 of us cook now and then together and we read the blogs and food pages, both in English, French, Italian and Spanish which is funny. She know Spanish and English as well. I have a lovely recipe – apple cake from the south of Sweden. Please let me know if you want it.
    I love your sajt!
    Kind regards,
    Gunilla and Isabelle (from Paris)

  • miecke oosterman

    I’am wondering what salted butter caramels might be.
    I’am living in Holland, no idea where to get it.
    You have a wonderful site.

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