Gingersnap-Caramel Pear Parfaits
4 Tb. butter
1 c. brown sugar
4 lrg., firm (but ripe) Bartlett pears (about 2 lbs.), halved and cored
2 c. heavy cream
2 Tb. sugar
6 Tb. brandy or cognac, divided
40 small gingersnap cookies
candied or crystallized ginger
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat to 400º.
Melt butter in a 9X13" pan in the preheating oven until nutty golden. Sprinkle brown sugar evenly over butter in the pan, then place pears, cuts sides down, over sugar.
Bake until pears are tender when poked with a sharp knife and sauce is thick and caramel colored, about 40 min. Remove pears from sauce to a plate with a slotted spoon. Pour sauce in a measuring cup. (You should have about 1 c. of sauce. If not, simmer to reduce, or add water to equal 1 c.) Cool pears and sauce to room temperature. (At this point, you can remove skin from the pears with a knife, if you want.) Cut each pear half into 8 chunks.
When ready to assemble, whip cream into soft peaks, gradually adding sugar. Beat in 2 Tb. of brandy. Set aside.
Place 24 gingersnaps on a cookie sheet and lightly brush with some of the brandy. Work quickly; the cookies will soften in places, making them difficult to transfer. Arrange 3 cookies in each of 8 goblets. Drizzle each with some of the caramel sauce (about 1/3 c. total), a dollop of whipped cream and 4 pieces of pear.
Lightly brush remaining 16 cookies with brandy and repeat layering with 2 cookies, 1/3 c. caramel sauce, whipped cream and 4 pieces of pear. Drizzle with remaining 1/3 c. caramel sauce, and cover each goblet with plastic wrap. Refrigerate parfaits and remaining whipped cream until serving time.
To serve, garnish each goblet with a dollop of whipped cream and top with a couple slivers of candied ginger.
Pairs Well With
I stumbled on this recipe in a Sunday paper and couldn't wait to get to the store for some pears. If you like gingersnaps, and I know there are many who don't, but if you do, you have got to try this! It makes a gorgeous presentation and is definitely a new favorite!