Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Be Pre-Peared!

Pera Infornata in Pasta Sfoglia
Baked Pear in a Puff Pastry Shell

Oh, dessert again! My greatest challenge in the cooking arena! Because as you all very well know- I can not bake! But at the same time- I can indeed fake! So here is a little idea for something pretty and delicious, that you can pull together in just 20 minutes and with very little difficulty- and as I always say- what's not to like about that?

The important thing here is to have a good, sweet and ripe pear which will bake and soften nicely in just 20 minutes. The smaller varieties are much better for this dish- I used a type called "Williams Christ" which is very juicy and aromatic. So get those pears pealed and let's have some fun with them!

Halve the pear and cut out the core, leaving a hollow on each side. Fill the hollow with a mixture of chopped almonds and raisins which have been mixed together with a little Cointreau and some cinnamon and then place it face-down onto a rectangle of puff pastry which is twice as wide as the pear itself. Sprinkle very lightly with cinnamon and sugar and drizzle lightly with Cointreau.

Now slit the pastry horizontally on either side- I found it easier to make the first slit at the half-way mark, so that I could gauge how many cuts I needed to make- each strip was only a half inch or so wide.

Starting at the wide end of the pair, begin to pull the pastry up on top of the pear, alternating left and right and folding one strip over another. Pull the strips of pastry a little towards the middle of pear and once you have got half way, begin doing the same thing from the opposite direction, so that you end neatly in the middle. It's that easy!

Bake on the middle tray in your oven at a high temperature for 15 minutes or until the pastry has puffed up and is golden brown. I served mine with a light sprinkle of cinnamon/sugar and kept things simple- although I am sure you would enjoy them with some fresh cream! Hope you like them whichever way you choose to eat them!

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