or apples.

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Apparently it hit me. Last week I was urging Summer to stay and for the cool days of Fall to be a distant reality.  Then I started to see Gravensteins pop up along country roads in farm stands that are only attended by a black box with the words, “honor system” painted on the front.

Shortly after that there was pie. The best I’ve made. The warmth of the oven still offensive as the Summer heat lingers.

Then this morning I woke up to a comforting gray sky (as well as a cold which definitely marks the new season) and I finally admitted that I am ready and eager for the changing season.


It could have also been these caramel covered pears and apples that brought me into the Fall mood. The scent of sweet honey bubbling on the stove wafting through the kitchen carrying with it an exotic, floral smell as freshly ground cardamom was tossed in. The kids were eager to get involved in the dipping process and even more eager to help with the eating of our freshly dipped fruit. Such helpful little kidlets.


We did manage to save a few and if you are lucky enough to be in Seattle area you can get your hands on these caramel covered beauties by going to SAVOUR in Ballard. My dear friend, Julie, has started a great program where each week in September a local blogger features a homemade treat that can be purchased at the store. I adore this idea as it is so much fun to provide an opportunity for some of you to actually eat the food you are seeing and reading about.


For those of you who are not in Seattle, I apologize for being a tease. Hopefully, someday we will meet and I will happen to have one of these caramel pears in my purse. Until then I urge you to make these yourself, then open your arms widely and embrace the coming season.

You will also need a thermometer and popscicle or lollipop sticks.


Fill your sink or a large bowl with a couple inches of ice water. This will be used to quickly stop the caramel from cooking once it’s reached the desired temperature.

In a large sauce pan (the caramel bubbles up so make sure the pot is much larger than the quantity of the ingredients) heat the cream and salt to a simmer. Once small bubbles appear stir in the honey and ground cardamom. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer. Stir occasionally to avoid scorching on the sides or bottoms of the pan.

Continue to cook until the temperature reaches 255-260*F. If not cooked enough the caramel will be too soft and run off the fruit. If cooked too long the caramel will be difficult to chew.

*Tips for Success*

After making these several times now I’ve learned a few things that I want to reiterate so you will have success.

Boil caramel until it reaches 260*. This will produce a firmer caramel that will better adhere to the apples or pears.

– Use firm pears. If they are too ripe the stick will slide right out.

– Wait to dip the fruit until the caramel is nearly cool. It will be quite thick and sticky but it helps to prevent the caramel from sliding right off.

– Use fruit that is not waxed.

– Chill the fruit before dipping. This sets the caramel immediately. You could also dip then refrigerate.

– Let the excess caramel drip off for at least one minute before dipping into the nuts.

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Honey Cardamom Caramel for apples or pears


enough for 8-10 small/medium apples or pears.

Choose apples/pears that are unwaxed as that will help the caramel to adhere.


1 ½ cups heavy cream

1 ½ cups + 1 tablespoon mild honey, such as clover

¾ teaspoon salt, kosher

3 cardamom pods, cracked and seeds ground or ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom

1 cup toasted, roughly ground hazelnuts

59 Responses to “Cardamom Honey Caramel Pears”

  1. Shumanay

    Where are these Gravensteins you speak of??? Those are my absolute favorite pie apple and I keep my eyes open each year, only to look away briefly and frequently miss them. Also, my husband is in love with my new scone technique, courtesy of your NWS class. Thank you so much for sharing your expertise, from both of us!

  2. heather

    Pears! So simple, and yet, I probably wouldn’t have thought of it. A whimsical “twist” on the traditional. Definitely the version I’d prefer, especially with the addition of honey and cardamom. If I had more time and weren’t traveling nearly 24 hours to get to my wedding destination next month and didn’t have 150 guests attending, I’d love to give these as favors. In a perfect world, right? These are just stunning.



  3. Chloe

    These images are unbearably beautiful. I have never really liked cooking, but I’m tempted to jump in…


  4. Crystal Malek

    Delightful! Oh, how I long for a new season!! Would you believe we had 102 degrees yesterday?? So sad. Praying for a chilly snap to hit us soon. In the meantime, I’ll crank the a/c, light my fall scented candles, and make something comforting and yummy like this! Thanks for the recipe. 🙂

  5. Angharad

    I love the originality and prettiness. Aren’t pears so underrated? I love the idea of dunking them like this. Wonderful photographs as always!

  6. Maia

    These look fantastic! I’m wondering how you keep the caramel from spilling into a puddle at the feet of your fruit, and hardening into an awkward disk. I attempted to make caramel apples last October, and I could not get the caramel to “stay upright” and stick evenly around most of the fruit. It reached the proper temperature and everything – I was very frustrated! Any tips?

    • Ashley Rodriguez

      @Maia – It’s a great question and a problem that has kept me from making caramel apples. I added a few tips to the post that helped me keep the caramel in tact. If all else fails serve it as a dip with apples or pears. Everyone will still be thrilled.

  7. Rachel

    These are beautiful! How fun for you that you get to sell them at a friend’s shop. The translation from summer to fall desserts is always such a tough one here in San Diego…I’ll have to make these for my hubby!

  8. MikeVFMK

    Ashley, this is simply beautiful. I also pass fruit stands along the rural roads that border the city I’m in and they also work on the honour system. It reminds me of how things were for my grandparents.

    And these pears are the perfect autumn representation.

  9. Emma

    I had never heard of Gravensteins before, I wonder if they’re more of a West Coast thing? Maybe not, maybe it’s just my love of the Cortland keeping me from discovering otherwise deserving fruit:)

    • Ashley Rodriguez

      @Emma – Now I feel like I’m missing out. What’s the Cortland like? Gravensteins are perfectly tart and hold their shape even when baked. They retain a slight crisp bite even after hitting the oven for over an hour. They are amazing.

  10. Liz

    I have been seeing you on commercials for the cascade vs. Finish challenge and I kept telling myself “Go look her up” and I’m SO glad I did! What a wonderful , unique blog you have here and such beutiful photography. It’s like seeing a piece of your soul! Blessings to you and your family!

  11. Brenda

    Happy to see you chose to use toasted hazelnuts! A personal favorite. From Freddy’s in Oregon perchance?

  12. Lauren

    I made candied apples last month for St. Batholomew’s Day, but yours sound much more fantastic. I love local apples from farm stands and used to look forward to getting my hands on them when I visited my grandparents in NW Arkansas. I haven’t found any Kansas apples yet, though, but I’ll keep looking!

    What a great idea to feature food bloggers’ food in a restaurant! I wish I could get to Seattle to try these out!

  13. Ashley C.

    This is really taking food blogging to the next level!! How cool! And I love that you would carry one around in your purse 🙂

  14. Anne Marie

    Oh, you make me sad. Gravensteins are just my favorite apples (tied with Red Romas) and they are gone, gone, gone…here in the S.F. Bay Area. There was a really cool article on them last week actually . I got, ahem, 60 pounds of them for free so you can imagine that we have made a whole lot of applesauce and tarts, but I also did a really yummy Chai-spiced apple butter. The slightly sour Gravenstein goes great with it. No apple cider vinegar needed. Anyways, I wish I could come sample your tasty treats in person, but I’ll be happy to make them myself too.

    P.S. Loved your post on Ivy’s b-day too. What a great mother you are!

  15. molly

    We just hit on the combo of cardamom and caramel — easily two of my favorite flavors in the world — several months ago, with a batch of caramel candies. oh. my. GOODNESS. love the idea of pears, here.

    happy fall to you, ashley. i can’t imagine a better beginning!

  16. kaka

    Oh my gosh, this looks wonderful, and does not offend me in the least! I love the idea of putting these two dishes together! (love the pics too) 🙂
    I’m looking forward to trying this recipe.

  17. Jaime

    I have to try one of those caramel pears like right now, I’m a cardamom grower/importer myself and I have to say that your recipe looks so yummy, I’m not a great cook myself but this one I will have to try.

    btw, I love the pictures on your blog.

  18. Terra

    WOW! I love this idea, and you used cardamom, I adore that spice!! The pictures make me want to grab one now, just beautiful! Take care, Terra


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