“IT IS, IN MY VIEW, THE DUTY OF AN APPLE TO BE CRISP AND CRUNCHABLE, BUT A PEAR SHOULD HAVE SUCH A TEXTURE AS LEADS TO SILENT CONSUMPTION.” Edward Bunyard,‘The Anatomy of Dessert’.
Supermarket pears, even when ripe and in season, just don’t do enough for me. Pears should be quietly delectable, soft and juicy! And there’s nothing worse than biting into one that you think is ripe, only to be disappointed with a dry, tasteless crunch. But baking with pears is totally different A little time on the stove or in the oven, and you are assured a soft, sweet treat.
Here, I’ve decided to bathe the pears in red wine, warm spices, and tart cherries. I filled them with chocolate and bits of almonds and wrapped them lovingly in flaky, puffed pastry! The dried cherries and the poaching wine reduced down to a wonderful syrupy sauce. The chocolate centers turned out pretty special, too. Because they are filled with…..
……a pear flavored dark chocolate that I found at Whole Foods!
The result was sweet, rustic, elegance! Easy to make and the poached pears can be made in advance.
CHOCOLATE PEAR POUCHES:
Level of Difficulty: easier than you think!
Servings: this recipe will make 6 people deliriously happy.
- 6 Bosc pears
- 2 cups of port or red wine
- 6 cups water
- 1/2 cup of granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling (I used a sprinkling sugar for the outer finish)
- 5 Tablespoons of dried cherries
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 5 cardamom pods
- 6 ounces of semi sweet chocolate, chopped into small chunks
- 1/2 cup of almonds, finely chopped
- 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
- 18 sheets of phyllo dough, thawed
Begin by peeling and coring the pears. I leave the stems on because I love the look of the stems poking out of the phyllo! Cut a small slice off the bottoms to keep them from wobbling and to help them stand flat. Combine the wine with 6 cups of water, the sugar, dried cherries, cinnamon sticks, and cardamom pods in a medium saucepan. Bring this mixture to a boil over medium high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Once this soon to be luscious liquid begins to boil, reduce the heat to medium low and add the pears. (If necessary, add more water to make sure the pears are submerged.) Poach the pears until they are soft and tender, about 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat but let the pears cool in the poaching liquid. (If you do this step a day ahead, transfer the pears and liquid to a container, cover, and refrigerate.)
Preheat your oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Mix the chopped chocolate, almonds, 3 Tablespoons of the melted butter, and a big pinch each of sugar and salt in a bowl. Remove the pears from the liquid (I blotted them with a paper towel to make them easier to handle.) Stuff each pear with some of the chocolate mixture.
Lay out 1 sheet of phyllo dough, brush it with melted butter, and sprinkle it with sugar. Repeat with another layer of phyllo, butter, sugar. And one more layer of phyllo, butter, sugar. (I placed each piece of phyllo at an angle on each other to almost resemble a star). Place a tablespoon of chocolate mixture into the center of the phyllo. Place the pear on top and fold up the sides of the phyllo to meet the pear stem, pinching, and twisting and bunching the excess phyllo at the top. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar. Place on the baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
While the pears are baking, simmer the poaching liquid over medium high heat until syrupy, 20-25 minutes. Serve the pears with the cherry syrup. And enjoy!
For more recipes with pears that I’ve made:
But I’m also dying to try: