The MLK weekend and the Presidential Inauguration tomorrow have put me in a festive mood. Despite the freezing temperatures, I’m feeling celebratory. So much so that I took the trouble to make the crust from scratch for this dish. The crust is actually easy to make, it just takes time. Its worth the effort though. The pears wrapped and baked in the dough look gorgeous. I got the idea from this recipe on the BBC Good Food website. This tastes like a pear pie but looks infinitely better!
Baked Pear Parcels
makes 2 generous servings
Bosch Pears -2 (ripe but firm)
Walnuts – 3 tbsp
Brown sugar – 2 tbsp
Flour – 1 tbsp
For the crust
All purpose flour – 4 oz
Butter – 4 oz (I used Land O’ Lakes light butter)
Sugar – 1/4 cup
Salt – a pinch
Vanilla extract – 1/8 tsp
Preheat oven to 375F.
To make the crust, combine all ingredients (flour through vanilla) in a bowl. Using your finger tips, rub the butter into the flour. Do not knead. Rub the flour and butter till it forms a crumbly mixture. Press the crumbs into a ball. Cover the dough ball in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
While the dough is in the fridge, work on the pears. Peel the pears. Make a thin slice on the bottom of the pears so that they can sit stably. Core the pears and remove the seeds. I used the tip of a potato peeler to do this.
Crush the walnuts lightly. Combine them with the brown sugar and flour. Fill the cored inside of the pear with the walnut-sugar mixture. Pack the mixture into the pear cavity.
When the dough is chilled, take it out of the fridge and divide it into two. Roll out each portion into a rough round. Place a pear in the middle of one dough round. Lift the sides of the dough up and press together over the pear to form a parcel. This doesn’t have to be perfect. Pinch off any excess dough. Patch up any empty spots (dip you finger tips in water to seal edges).
Brush the pear parcels with milk or egg wash. Bake in the over for 50-60 minutes or until the pear parcels are golden. Cool 10-15 minutes before serving.
Serve with lemon chamomile sauce (recipe below), ice cream or whipped cream.
Lemon Chamomile Sauce
Water – 1 1/2 cups
Chamomile tea bags – 2
Lemon juice – 1 1/2 tbsp
Malbec Jam - 3 tbsp (click here to win a bottle of Malbec Jam!). Alternatively, use 3 tbsp of honey and 1 tbsp of red wine.
Brown sugar – 1 tbsp, you can use regular sugar instead. Use more sugar for a sweeter sauce.
Lemon zest – 1/8 tsp
Boil the water in a sauce pan. When the water comes to a boil, add the chamomile tea bags. Boil for 30 seconds. Turn off heat and let the tea steep for about 7 minutes. Remove tea bags.
Turn the heat back on and add all the remaining ingredients to the tea. Simmer till the sauce has reduced to about 60% of its original volume.
Serve with baked pear parcels.