“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‘
There is a restaurant in Middleburg, Virginia called The French Hound, which offers a wonderful stuffed pear dessert, served with a creme anglaise. I wanted to try to recreate this dessert. But I wanted to include a pastry that would lend itself as a delicate crust to absorb all the luscious flavors. Kind of like a lighter version of pie. I added dried cherries to the poaching wine, and reduced it to a wonderful syrupy sauce. And the center of the pears? They are filled with…..
……a pear flavored dark chocolate that I found at Whole Foods! And I added almonds to the mix as well!
The result was sweet, rustic, elegance! Easy to make and the poached pears can be made in advance. You will need….
6 Bosc pears
2 cups of port or red wine
6 cups water
1/2 cup granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling (I used a sprinkling sugar for the outer finish)
5 TBSP dried cherries
2 cinnamon sticks
5 cardamom pods
6 oz semi sweet chocolate, chopped into small chunks
1/2 cup chopped almonds
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
18 sheets of phyllo dough, thawed
Peel and core the pears. Cut a small slice off the bottoms to help them stand flat. Leave the stems intact. Combine the wine with 6 cups of water, the sugar, dried cherries, cinnamon sticks, and cardamom in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. 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 tender, about 20 minutes. Remove 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, pecans, 3 TBSP 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, brush with melted butter, sprinkle 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!