This ended up being really good. The popovers were sweet but not overly so, the reduced cream was super rich and smooth, the pears were spiced but not overly so, and the three worked really well together. I used a 12 hole muffin tin and the size ended up being just right, not too little not too big.
Pictures to follow after recipe (they're on my phone and I'm currently on the computer).
(Start this first, it takes a while and can sit in the fridge until needed.)
Pour 1 pint heavy cream into pot. Start burner on lowest setting and adjust as needed. You want the cream to just barely steam. You'll want to stir it occasionally and when the skin on the top gets kind of thick you'll want to skim it off. It took about 3 1/2 hours to get it reduced. I stired it about every 10 - 15 minutes.
I ended up with cream that was thicker and richer but didn't taste "cooked", which is why I went with this method. There were others that were quicker but all used a higher heat and that wasn't what I was looking for. I managed to find cream that was just pasturized, not ultra pasturized. When I looked up the various methods for reducing cream they all said to use unpasturized or pasturized, but not ultra pasturized. No idea how well it would work with ultra pasturized.
Once the cream is reduced by about half you can move it to a bowl and place in the fridge. I've seen sites mention that if you place plastic wrap directly on cream, milk, pudding and such it will keep it from forming a skin so I did that. No idea if it would have formed one without it or been fine but it definitely didn't form one with the plastic wrap. The cream can hang out in the fridge at this point until you need it.
Just before using the cream beat it with a whisk or mixer until very frothy and slightly thickened, but still liquid.
4 large eggs into a measuring cup (this ended up being a little over 3/4 of a cup)
Equal volume flour to eggs
Equal volume milk to eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 tblsp powdered/confectioners sugar
1/2 tsp salt
In medium size bowl mix together flour, powdered sugar, and salt. Add the eggs and vanilla and, using a whisk, mix until you form a think batter. Add a little milk and mix. Add a little more and mix. Continue until all milk is added and batter is smooth. Beat with whisk until slightly frothy. Set aside for 15 - 20 minutes (now would be a good time to make the pears).
Pre-heat the oven to 450F. Once the batter has rested put 1 tsp cooking oil in each hole of a twelve hole muffin tin. Place pan with oil in the heated oven for 2 - 3 minutes until oil and pan are hot. Quickly add batter to the pan filling each hole about 1/3 of the way. Put pan back in oven and bake about 15 minutes or until bowned. Remove from pan and repeat process until all batter is used.
I found it was easiest to let them cool a little and remove them from the holes with a fork. They did stick just slightly but I'm pretty sure it's just because our muffin tin is kind of old. Working them loose with a fork seemed to work really well.
I ended up only using 4 of the holes for the second batch (making a total of 16 popovers). The pan did smoke a little during the second time putting it in. I thought about filling the empty holes with a little water but wasn't sure if that would affect the ability of the popovers to cook properly.
4 ripe pears (I used 2 red pears and 2 comice pears)
1 tblsp packed dark brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cloves
2 tblsp butter
Wash pears and then quarter them. Core the quarters and then slice them into thin (about 1/8 inch) slices. Heat butter in heavy bottomed sauce pan over medium to medium high heat. Add the pears and cook, stiring regularly. When they begin to soften add the brown sugar and spices.
Continue cooking, stiring regularly, until pears are juicey and to desired doneness. When I removed them from the heat the red pears were hot but still firm. Some of the slices of comice had broken up a little and some were still whole but they were all soft. This made a really nice texture and the flavor was great.
Once all parts are finished it's time to assemble them. Place a popover onto a plate or in a bowl. Fill the "cup" of the popover about 1/3 of the way with the cream. Fill it the rest of the way with the pears, letting them overflow just a little. Sprinkle with chopped nuts if desired.
And now you are finally done and can eat it (which really is the best part).
I know it sounds like a lot of work but it wasn't bad. The pears and popovers didn't actually take that long to make, maybe 45 minutes combined because I did the pears while the popover batter rested and they cooked quickly. I've made pies that took much longer to make. The cream does take a long time but since I didn't have to stand there the whole time I could do other things while letting it reduce so it wasn't that bad and whipping it just before serving doesn't take long.
Overall I'm pretty thrilled with this little experiment but if anyone has any suggestions I will definitely welcome them. Desserts are one of the areas I know the least about. This was all new stuff for me so tips from pros/the experienced are definitely welcome.