I was spending some time on Pinterest one day (okay, I spent most of a day on Pinterest) and I saw the most gorgeous cakes with crystallized pears that I eventually tracked back to Teresa of the Candy Company in Krakow. I say eventually because I’m kind of a spaz (mine are brain and muscle related) with Pinterest. My fingers click on things I never intended to click on. I get lost easily. I get distracted easily. I forget what I was looking for easily.
These are gorgeous with their jewel tones and they become transparent and glittery when there is light behind them. I think pastels would be just as pretty and I might try some of those some day. I’m not sure is Teresa started this trend but everything I saw went back to her page. So for me she is the queen.
I borrowed a mandolin from a neighbour (yes, yes, I’m not allowed to have sharp objects but what Mr. G doesn’t know won’t hurt him) and got to work.
First off wash your pears. I used medium ripe ones and I wish that they had been firmer. This would most likely have worked better. You know those pears that are a pretty green colour and when you bite into one (if you can) the flesh goes right up into your gums? And they don’t taste like much and are hard enough to smash bulletproof glass? I’m going to use those next time. Slice them thinly with the mandolin or with a sharp knife. Try to get nice neat slices and not the messy ones I got. They should be neater when you use firm pears.
First off make a sugar syrup by mixing granulated sugar and water (recipe below), boil and then add your gel dye. I used Wilton Royal Blue, Wilton Teal and a mixture of Sugarflair Bitter Lemon and Gooseberry. So I have pretty blue, teal and sweet pickle coloured yellow/green pear slices.
Slice your pears thinly and evenly. Try not to include finger slices. This will spoil your day and the look of your cake.
Place the slices in the coloured sugar syrup and cook until softened.
Dry on paper towels. I don’t think I got mine dry enough but I tried to get most of the liquid off. Place on silicone lined baking sheets. I used my Wilton silicone baking mats that I’ve had for at least 10 years. I also used some Betty Crocker ones that I got at Dollarama. You could use parchment but I think sticking might be a problem.
Bake for 2 hours but don’t let them dry out too much or they will crack when you take them off. Mine seemed dry so I took them off the silicone and placed them on parchment upside down to let the backs dry a bit more. One day later they seemed to soften a bit, so I put them back on the silicone and re-dried them in the oven. Same deal- looked good but seemed to soften a bit in the air. I’d had enough so I just left them. I probably should have just dried them for longer but I had a cake to bake. And they were so pretty. I’ve decided to borrow my dehydrator back from Sarah and try them again. Some day. Maybe.
Teresa says they can be stored and used later on. I now have a little container with what was left. I think they will soften more and only time will tell if they survive…
Aren’t they gorgeous?! Not bad at all for a first stab at something. Chatoyant* Pears that look like jewels. And they taste like fruit leather. Bonus!
- Pears, firm
- 2 parts water
- 1 part granulated sugar
- gel dye
- Combine water and sugar in a pot and bring it to a boil. Turn down heat to medium.
- Add the dye.
- Slice pears or apples about 1 to 1.5 mm thick and place in the hot, dyed sugar syrup. Cook about 10- 15 minutes until transparent.
- Turn off the heat and leave for 1 to 2 hours or even overnight.
- Pat dry with paper towels.
- Place slices on a silicone mat or parchment paper on a cookie sheet.
- Dry for around 2 hours at 75C or 165F. Do not over-dry because edges may curl.
- You can also dry them in a food dehydrator.
- Store in sealed containers with parchment between layers.
- You can dust these with edible dusts if you wish
*chatoyant- cha-toy-ant| \sha-tȯi-ənt\
Adjective: Having a changeable luster.
Noun:A chatoyant stone or gemstone, such as the cat’s-eye.
Origin of chatoyant: French present participle of chatoyer to shimmer like cats’ eyes from chat cat from Vulgar Latin cattus perhaps of African origin