Sunday, 2 October 2011

Baking with Pears

I bought a big box of pears to can, then I decided I didn't have time to can, but the pears needed to be eaten quickly, so I spent my time baking instead. Yes, I am a genius.

Yum, tonight's dessert. Super easy too.

Ginger Pear Galette

1/2 of 17.3 oz package of frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed
1 egg white lightly beaten
2 tbls flour
2 tbls sugar
2 tbls brown sugar
1 tbls finely chopped crystallized ginger
1 tsp shredded lemon peel
2 tbls butter
3 large pears, peeled and thinly sliced

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. On lightly floured surface, unroll pastry sheet, roll out to 14x11 inches, trim to 12x10 inches, and place on baking sheet. Brush edges with egg white. Cut trimmings to 1/2 in strips and press on edges of rectangle to form rims. Brush those edges with egg whites.
2. In a small bowl mix flour, sugar, brown sugar, crystallized ginger, and lemon peel. Cut in butter.
3. Sprinkle half of mixture onto pastry, add pears, then sprinkle on the rest of the mixture. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes till pastry is golden and pear tender. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

It was very, very good.

This picture doesn't make this look very appetizing, but I stink at making pretty pie crust edges and then I burnt the topping that was supposed to go on it, realized how awful it tasted after I had already spread it on, and then I scraped it off again. So this pie went through a lot before I took this photo. But trust me, it is delicious!!!!! Here's the recipe:

Fresh Pear and Cranberry Pie

8 cups sliced unpeeled pears
1 c fresh cranberries (or frozen)
1/4 c sugar
3 tbls cornstarch
2 tbls apple cider or water
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tbls sugar
2 tbls carmel-flavored ice cream topping

And your favorite pie crust recipe--mine's from Joy of Baking, here.

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare pie crust in pie pan per your own directions. Then arrange 4 cups of pears in the bottom. Sprinkle with 1/4 c cranberries. Top with remaining pears. In small bowl stir together 1/4 c sugar, cornstarch, cider, and nutmeg; drizzle over pears. Cover loosely with foil.

2. Bake for forty minutes. Remove foil, spindle with 1 tbls of sugar, bake for an additional 30-35 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, in small saucepan combine remaining 1/2 c cranberries with 2 tbls carmel topping. Bring to boiling, reduce heat and boil bently for 1 minute. (This is where I ran into problems. I used dulce de leche instead of the carmel topping and it's thick and wouldn't boil, just burned. Ruff.)

4. Spoon cranberry mixture over hot pie, cool slightly and eat with vanilla ice cream, and additional carmel topping.

Really, Leo and I LOVED this pie. But then, we're kind of pie fans, apple pie is both of our's favorite.

And last, but not least:

Dulce de Leche Bread Pudding with Glazed Pears

Ana LOVED this and Elena loved the bread pudding part minus the pears. The rest of us like it too. Sorry no picture. I forgot.

7 cups cubed French bread-10 ounces (any hard crusty bread will do)
6 eggs lightly beaten
2 cups milk
1 c dulce de leche or butterscotch or carmel ice cream topping. (Go for the dulce de leche--it's way better.)
1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla

1. Okay, this recipe was for individual ramekins, but I don't own any, but it fit quite nicely in my 9x13 pan, although it wasn't quite cooked in the center. I would lower the heat and cook longer next time. Anyway, you're supposed to put the bread in 8 8-10 oz. ramekins.
2. In large bowl combine the rest of the ingredients, mix till smooth on a low speed and then pour over the bread.
3. Chill in the fridge for at least one hour. (Anyone know why this would be necessary? I don't.)
4. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 mins, or until knife inserted comes out clean. Oops, I forgot to check, hence my unbaked center. Oh, if you are cooking this in ramekins your supposed to put them in a roasting pan half filled with boiling water.
5. Serve warm with Brown Butter Glazed Pears.

Brown Butter Glazed Pears

In large skillet melt 1/4 c butter on med-low heat. Continue heating till butter turns light golden brown. Stir in 1/2 c brown sugar. Cook and stir for 2 mins. Add 1/4 c dulce de leche. and 1 tsp vanilla. Stir in 3 cups of peeled and sliced pears. Cook over low heat for about 5 mins, till pears are tender.

All these recipes are from my favorite, "Ultimate Desserts" from Better Homes and Gardens.