This is relatively easy dessert to make. I like to make this particular dessert over and over again with slightly different version, because It will easily impress your guess and family as it looks pretty presented in an individual dessert plate, especially when you add ice cream, or creme anglais. The poaching liquid is also very simple, made of water and sugar, spiced with whole spices that fairly easy to find in most grocery store. You can always fancy this up by using some liqueur that will work well with this spices too if you like. Or just simply white, or red wine, sugar, and vanilla will work as well.
This recipe came from Christine Ferber's book, Mes Tarte, which I use a lot each time I want to make sweet or savory tarts. As usual, I adapted the recipe according to my own taste, change couple of things that I feel, or sound a little odd. For instance, I don't like the the sound of adding garlic clove in my sweet pastry. I can not even imagine how it will taste, not that I don't like garlic, I do! But not for my sweet treat or dessert though. So, if you really want to make her original version, the spices she uses are: cinnamon, vanilla bean, garlic, star anise, and cardamom. She aslo listed lemon juice in the recipe.
Spice Pears In Party Dresses
Recipe adapted from Christine Ferber's Spiced Pear In Party Dress
600 g puff pastry, store bought or homemade - thaw if frozen
8 small ripe but still firm Williams, or Barlett pears (I used Seckel pears)
500 g (2 1/3 cups) sugar
500 g (2 cups) water
1 cinnamon stick
1 star anise
1 slice of lemon rind
1 egg yolk
2 tsp milk
In a pan (large enough to accomodate all pears) place sugar, water, cinnamon, cardamoms, star anise, and lemon rind. Bring to a gentle boil. Meanwhile, peel the pears, leaving the steam on. Add them to the pan. Bring to a simmer for 20 - 25 minutes. Remove from the heat, let cool completely in the pan. You can do this step a day ahead, and refrigerate pears with its liquid.
On a lightly floured kitchen counter top, roll out the pastry to about 1/16 inch thick. To prevent pastry from shrinking when it's cut, roll it around rolling pin. Lightly flour your counter top again, then unroll the pastry. Cut 8 (eight) - 6 inch squares.
To warp the pear, place pear in the center of pastry square, lift the point of pastry square one by one and bring them up to the stem of the pear. Now using the palm of your hand, press the pastry against the pear to mold itself to the shape of the pear. Arrange on a baking sheet line with parchment paper. Repeat with the rest of the pears. Cover the baking sheets with plastic, refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Make the egg wash. Place egg yolk and milk in small bowl. Mix to combine.
Brush each pear with egg wash. Bake for about 30 to 35 minutes, or until the pastry is nicely brown. Meanwhile, bring the poaching liquid back to the stove set over medium heat. Simmer until it is become thick and sirupy. Remove from the heat to cool. When pear pastry is done, glaze lightly with the poaching syrup if desire. Serve in individual dessert plate with creme anglais, vanilla ice cream, or chocolate sauce if desire.
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