Have Canned Pears? How to Use Them (and your Air Fryer) to Make a Great Inexpensive Dessert
If you have canned pears, breathe easy. You have the makings of a fancy dessert on hand that won't break the bank. Yes, canned pears are canned. That's fine. Often the canned pears are softer, sweeter, and just plain better than the fresh variety that have been parked on trucks and in stores and aren't that fresh. The canned version also are ready to eat, unlike some fresh pears that must be ripened--often for days--before you can use them. This dessert is quite simple. You drain the pears, cook down their juices and syrup to create a caramel sauce, and serve the sauce and pears with little cakes and ice cream. The dessert is sweet, cool, creamy, and incredibly good! What about the little cakes? Well, I use my air fryer to make six little mini cakes (cupcakes, really). The recipe is simple, and the time to make and cook the cakes is minimal. If you'd prefer, you can use store-bought dessert sponge cakes, but, frankly, the air fryer cakes are better and cheaper. If you're pressed for time, you can make everything ahead, which means that, at serving time, all you have to do is heat the caramel sauce in the microwave, assemble the servings, and drizzle on the sauce. In other words, you have a perfect "company dessert"! Enjoy!
Pears, Caramel, and Cakes Dessert-- Serves 6
1 large can of pears (26-30 ounces) in heavy syrup (you should have 6 pear halves)
1 tablespoon of butter
1/2 cup of heavy cream
1 teaspoon of rum extract (or use pear brandy, if you're lucky enough to have any)
6 mini cakes
Drain the syrup from the pears into a medium saucepan. Reserve the pears. Heat the pear syrup over medium heat to a simmer. Stir in the butter and continue to let the pear syrup simmer for about 45-60 minutes, stirring it periodically. The syrup should cook down until you have only 3-4 tablespoons left and the mixture starts turning golden brown. At this point, turn down the heat to low and stir the mixture gently and continuously. You want the mixture to be a golden, deep brown in color. Whisk in the cream, a little at a time. Keep whisking for a minute or two until the cream is fully incorporated and the sauce has lightened and loosened a bit. Turn off the heat and whisk in the rum extract. Let the sauce cool a little and either use it immediately or store it in a microwave-safe container and refrigerate it to reheat later.
When you're ready to assemble the desserts, slice each pear half into four slices (lengthwise). Place a mini cake in the center of each dessert plate (or use bowls) and place the pear slices around the mini cakes. Place one scoop (or a little more, if you like) of ice cream on top of each of the mini cakes and gently mold/press the ice cream (enough so it doesn't fall off) onto the cakes. Warm the caramel sauce in the microwave at 50 percent power for a minute and stir it. If it's not warm enough, heat it for another 30-60 seconds, again at 50 percent power. Drizzle the caramel sauce over the pears, cakes, and ice cream and serve the desserts.
Air Fryer Mini Cakes -- Makes 6
1 cup of half and half (half milk and half cream)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1/2 cup of sugar
1/4 teaspoon of salt
3/4 cup of flour
3/4 teaspoon of baking powder
1 tablespoon of melted butter
In a medium bowl whisk together well the half and half, egg, vanilla, sugar, and salt. Whisk in the flour and baking powder until blended. Then whisk in the melted butter and whisk the mixture for a minute or so until mostly smooth. Place cupcake liners in 6 small ramekins (I spritz the liners with a little non-stick cooking spray for easier cake removal, even though the liners are "supposed" to be non-stick). Divide the batter among the ramekins. Air fry the mini cakes at 320 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until a deep golden brown and a pick inserted in the middle of a cake comes out clean. You probably will need to cook the mini cakes in batches unless you have a giant air fryer. Tip the cooked cakes out of their ramekins (carefully, because the ramekins are hot!). Let the little cakes cool and then pull off the cupcake papers. Use the cakes in the pear dessert above, or you can eat them "as is" or frost them.