Pears in puff pastry

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Pear puff pastry

This pear dessert is sure to impress. It both looks and tastes delicious. Serve with homemade creme anglaise for that extra touch of decadence. The result may look like it’s taken you ages, but once you get the hang of gathering up the pastry around the pear you will find it only takes a few minutes.

Pears in puff pastry

4 sheets of puff pastry
4 pears with stalks in place
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
6 dried apricots, diced finely
2-3 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon icing sugar mixed with half teaspoon cinnamon.

To make:

1. Peel pears and remove core and seeds, taking care that the stalks remain intact.

2. Mix together the brown sugar, cinnamon and diced apricots.

3. Place equal amounts of the apricot mixture into each pear cavity.

4. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C (350 degrees F).

5. Roll out the puff pastry to approximately 25cm diameter. Try to get the pastry nice and thin without it ripping or breaking.

6. Place a pear on each of the pastry sheets and gather up the pastry just below the stalk line. Pinch together and brush with a little milk to help it stay in place.

7. To create the double ‘frilled’ look as in the photo, we first cut a small strip of pastry and gathered it around the top of the pear before gathering up the rest of the pastry sheet. Experiment with round and square pieces of pastry to get your own distinctive look.

8. Place pears in an oven proof dish lined with baking paper.

9. Brush pastry with remaining milk and bake for approximately 30 minutes or until golden brown.

10. Sprinkle cinnamon and icing sugar over the pears and serve warm with creme anglaise.

Creme Anglaise

4 egg yolks
¼ cup sugar
½ cup cream
½ cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla essence

To make:

1. Fill large bowl with ice water and place bowl on top of this to hold sauce when it is finished – similar to double boiler concept but this is for cooling down the sauce to stop it cooking further.

2. Beat egg yolks until smooth.

3. Add sugar and stir until the mixture starts to turn a pale yellow and all the sugar has been combined.

4. Slowly heat the milk and cream in a double boiler, being careful not to bring it to boiling point.

5. When milk and cream have just about reached simmer point, or  80 degrees C (175 degrees F) remove from heat and slowly whisk into the egg yolk mixture.

6. Whisk the mixture constantly as you add the milk/cream to avoid egg from clumping. If you add the mixture too fast and when it’s too hot then the eggs will cook.

7. When completely mixed, add vanilla essence and return anglaise to the double boiler. Continue to stir and cook for a further 1- 2 minutes or until the sauce coats the back of the spoon nicely. Again, do not allow mixture to boil or it will overcook.

8. When cooked, pour into bowl resting on the ice water. Stir to cool mixture evenly. If any lumps have formed, pour mixture through sieve and no one will be any the wiser.

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