When you're learning to bake with puff pastry for the first time, this is an easy and delicious recipe to make. Red wine poached pears are already delicious on their own, now imagine them wrapped in layers of puff pastry. Served atop a bed of red wine reduction, this dessert is the definition of elegance.
For the poached pears:
- 2 cups + 2 tbsp (510 ml) red wine 2 cups + 2 tbsp (510 ml) red wine
- ¼ cup (50 g) Redpath® Granulated Sugar ¼ cup (50 g) Redpath® Granulated Sugar
- ¼ cup (43 g) strawberries, washed and quartered ¼ cup (43 g) strawberries, washed and quartered
- 4 orange peels (from 1 orange, using a vegetable peeler) 4 orange peels (from 1 orange, using a vegetable peeler)
- 1 (6 in) cinnamon stick, broken in half 1 (6 in) cinnamon stick, broken in half
- ½ vanilla bean, seeds scraped (including pod) ½ vanilla bean, seeds scraped (including pod)
- 2 tbsp (30 ml) pure maple syrup 2 tbsp (30 ml) pure maple syrup
- 2 medium firm pears (preferably Bosc pears) 2 medium firm pears (preferably Bosc pears)
For the assembly:
- ¼ batch (approximately 250 g) puff pastry ¼ batch (approximately 250 g) puff pastry
- 1 large egg 1 large egg
- 1 tbsp (15 ml) water 1 tbsp (15 ml) water
- 1 tbsp (12 g) Redpath® Granulated Sugar 1 tbsp (12 g) Redpath® Granulated Sugar
For the poached pears:
In a medium heavy-bottomed pot, combine red wine with Redpath® Granulated Sugar, strawberries, orange peel, cinnamon stick, half of a vanilla bean (seeds scraped, pod included), and maple syrup. Stir and place over medium heat until it just begins to simmer.
Meanwhile, peel and core the pears. Using an apple corer, core the pear from the bottom about halfway, until all the seeds are out. Use a small spoon, if required, to help scoop out the seeds. Leave the stems attached.
Carefully slide pears into the simmering liquid. Place a parchment round over the pears to keep them submerged. Turn pears over every 5 minutes; about 15 minutes. Turn heat off.
Transfer pears onto a separate dish or bowl. Pour poaching liquid overtop and allow to cool completely; about 2 hours.
Take pears out of the poaching liquid and blot dry with paper towels.
Strain poaching liquid. Discard vanilla bean, and cinnamon sticks. Dice the poached strawberries and divide between the 2 pears; stuff the cavity of the pears with the strawberries. If there are strawberries leftover that won’t fit, add them back into the poaching liquid. These strawberries will add some extra flavour and texture to your sauce.
For the assembly:
Prepare the quick puff pastry.
Roll the dough out into a 10 inch (25 centimetres) square and cut ½ inch wide strips. The pears will need approximately 6 to 7 strips to be covered entirely. Cut out two 1.5 inches (4 centimetres) from the puff pastry.
Place a square of puff pastry onto the base of each pear, covering the fruit-filled cavity.
Starting from the base of the stem, wrap the puff pastry strips around the pear, attaching new strips of pastry when the original strip runs out, until you reach the base of the pear. When attaching strips together, lightly dampen the end of each strip with some water and gently press the next strip to the end currently on the poached pear. Each new strip should slightly overlap with the bottom of each previous strip. Place onto the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the second pear.
With a sharp paring knife, cut out 2 leaf shapes from the remaining puff pastry. Score veins into the leaf shapes using the tip of the knife. Attach a leaf to each pear. Brush the back sides of the leaves with a bit of water and gently press onto the top of the pear, attaching the leaf shape close to the stem.
Lightly brush puff pastry with egg wash, and sprinkle the puff pastry with sugar. Place wrapped pears into the preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until pastry is a golden brown.
While the pears are baking, reduce the poaching liquid to ½ cup (120 millilitres); about 20 minutes. The poaching liquid should be thick and syrup.
Place about 2 tablespoons (30 millilitres) of the reduction onto a serving plate, and carefully transfer pears using an offset spatula onto the dish. If desired, garnish with fresh strawberries.
*One sheet of frozen puff pastry may be used.
*Poach the pears the day before, this will cut down the time needed to wait for the pears to cool.
*Any berries or soft fleshed fruit can be used in the poaching liquid: raspberries, cranberries, peaches, plums.