Friday, February 13, 2009
A year ago I had already made a trip to a garden center and I was ready to start scratching in the dirt. I couldn't resist arranging this impromptu heart. Things are definitely slower this year than they were last. As cold and unpredictable as it's been I won't be buying any plants for a couple of weeks at least :-) I did see my first rhododendrons blooming today though! Its always the first I see. It's a bright pink one that decorates the landscape of an assisted living facility I pass on my way work. So things are looking up!
In the food department, a year ago I was going silly with hearts..even my biscuits.
And I was copycatting a pretty pear dessert that several of my online friends had tried. This is the recipe as posted by Monique on a forum that we are both a member of, Gardenbuddies.
Tarte aux Poires en Cage
- 2 pkgs puff pastry
- 14 oz sugar
- 2 cups water
- 2 pears
- 1/2 lemon
- 1/2 cup frangipane (almond paste)
- 1 egg
- 3-4 tbsp cream
- 3-4 tbsp apricot jam
- warm water
1. Heat oven to 350F.
2. Unroll thawed puff pastry flat and refreeze
3. Peel the pears, cut in half, core with a melon baler and rub with the lemon half.
4. Bring the sugar and water (simple syrup) to a simmer and add the pears. Cover with a damp dish cloth and simmer for approximately 15 minutes or until only a slight resistance to a knife. When done, set aside pears on a paper towel on a dish.
5. Take the dough out of the freezer and roll the lattice cutter across one of the sheets. You might need to go over the slits with a paring knife.
6. Slowly pull apart the dough so a beautiful lattice forms. (I let my dough get to soft so it was hard to pull apart evenly. Do this when the dough is as cold as possible but not so cold it breaks.) Chill.
7. Take the other sheet of puff pastry and cut out the shape of a pear. Chill.
You can do all this ahead of time. To assemble and bake:
8. Take out the pear cut-outs pastry. Place a small scoop of frangipane in the scooped out part of the pear and set it, cut side down, on the pastry.
9. In a small bowl combine the egg and cream. Brush the pastry around the sides of the pear.
10. Take out the lattice pastry and cut out the same pear shapes. You can make a cut out from a piece of cardboard such as the back of a pad of paper. Brush the top of the lattice pastry with egg wash.
11. Lay each piece gently on top of the pear (the colder the dough the easier to handle). Press down gently and trim the edges with a paring knife.
12. Bake for approximately 15-20 minutes until it turns a golden brown.
13. Combine apricot jam and water and microwave until warm. Mix it together then strain it to get out the clumps of apricot. Brush it over the pears when they come out of the oven to give it a shiny glaze.