Maple Walnut Pears (for the rustly-leaf autumn months)

This autumnal recipe is a twist on the classic toffee apple. The sweet treat is made up of fresh pears drizzled in maple syrup and studded with chopped walnuts.

Hope and Greenwood: Sweets Made Simple
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Introduction

If you like toffee apples but are somewhat fickle, try these hopeylicious maple walnut pears. The pears are coated in a golden toffee, laced with sticky maple syrup and studded with walnuts. They are perfectly joyous in the autumn months, especially with a crackling bonfire and a flagon of spiced cider.

Makes 6

Ingredients

6 small, ripe dessert pears
For the maple toffee:
butter, for greasing
For the maple toffee:
200g (7oz) golden granulated sugar
1 tsp white wine vinegar
125ml (4½fl oz) maple syrup
25g (1oz) unsalted butter
100g (4oz) walnuts, finely chopped

Essential kit

You will need 6 liquorice root sticks or wooden lolly sticks, a 39 x 35cm (15¼ x 13¾in) baking sheet and a sugar thermometer.

Instructions

Wash the pears and pop them in the fridge for a couple of hours; this will help the toffee stick to the pears.

Lightly grease a 39 x 35cm (15¼ x 13¾in) baking sheet.

For the maple toffee, put the sugar into a large, heavy-bottomed pan with 100ml (4fl oz) of water. Warm it gently for 5 minutes until the sugar has dissolved; it should turn a lovely golden brown.

Add the vinegar, maple syrup and butter. Put a sugar thermometer into the pan and bring the mixture to a gentle boil on a medium heat. Boil until the mixture reaches 127°C (260°F). This may take up to 30 minutes, but don’t be tempted to increase the heat or the toffee will burn.

While you wait, whittle the end of your sticks to a point. Pull the stalk out of each pear, then push one stick firmly into place. Level the bottom of each pear by slicing a little off the base so it sits upright.

Remove the toffee from the heat. Pick up the first pear by its stick and dip it into the toffee to half-coat it, turning it round and round while humming a little tune about hedgehogs and wood goblins.

Dip into the chopped walnuts to coat completely, then stand on the baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining pears, then leave to cool.

Takes 30 minutes to make; a couple of hours to cool.

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