We're now into my favorite time of year. The weather cools down and baking can begin again.
I love pies and tarts, but I'm dreading the time it takes to make them, especially with a small baby to raise.
So, I thought I'd share a recipe that comes together quite easily and yet can be very elegant at a brunch or for dessert. I'm fairly certain this recipe could be adapted to use apples as well as pears.
For cooks who have the time, here's a recipe to make your own puff pastry from scratch:
If the pears you are using are juicy and soft you can make these without first poaching the pears.
Pear Puff Pastry Tarts
2 pears, peeled, halved and cored, but leave stem on
1 sheet frozen puff pastry
andfrac12;-inch chunk of fresh ginger
1 cinnamon stick
andfrac12; cup sugar
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Into a small saucepan filled with water, add sugar, cinnamon stick, ginger and pear halves. Bring to boil, then simmer for 15 minutes to help poach and soften the pears. Drain and let cool to room temperature.
Meanwhile, leave puff pastry on counter, covered with plastic wrap, to thaw it for tarts.
Lay parchment paper down on cookie sheet. Then place a pear upside down (cored end facing cookie sheet) and place square of puff pastry over top.
Using a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut the pastry to cover the pear neatly. Using your knife, poke the puff pastry all over to help with baking.
Cut out a pear leaf with any extra scraps and place near stem.
Bake for 15andndash;20 minutes until golden and puffed. Serve with blue cheese, walnuts in the core and drizzle with honey or, for dessert, top with vanilla ice cream and cinnamon sugar.
Anne Boulley is a local chef and culinary instructor with a passion for artisan foods. For more information about her cooking classes and catering services, go to thegourmetguide.com.