Pears and hazelnuts make such a lovely winter combination. Look for hazelnut butter in the peanut butter section at PCC. These tarts require no rolling or forming in a tart pan. They are simple and so delicious! As the season progress, try substituting apricots, plums and nectarines for the pears!
1 tablespoon water
1 package Aussie Bakery frozen puff pastry, (3 sheets) thawed
Hazelnut Praline (recipe follows)
3 semi-ripe pears (red Bartletts make a pretty color contrast)
1/2 cup demerrera or turbinado sugar mixed with 1 teaspoon cinnamon
In a small bowl, beat the egg well with 1 tablespoon of water, and set aside. (This is called an “egg wash” and is used in most pastry baking, not only to act as a sealing “glue”, but also to glaze the top during baking and give a glossy finish to the dish.)
Unfold the pastry sheets on a work surface. Cut each sheet into four squares and brush lightly with the egg wash. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the praline in the center of each and spread it into a 2-inch circle.
Cut the stem and blossom end off of each pear. Cut the pears into quarters lengthwise and remove the center core. Cut each quarter in 1/8 inch slices crosswise, keeping the slices together as best you can. Using a spatula or a table knife, place one (sliced) pear quarter in the center of each of the pastry squares, fanning them lightly.
Sprinkle generously with the cinnamon sugar. Fold the edges of the pastry up around the filling, leaving the pears mostly exposed and brush the outside of the pastry lightly with egg wash. Sprinkle with more cinnamon sugar. Place the pastries on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
Bake for 20-25 minutes in a 425 degree oven, or until the pastry is deep golden brown. Let cool for 5 minutes and sprinkle with powdered sugar. You may add a few berries for garnish. (Organic frozen berries still taste like summer!) Serve with Fran’s Raspberry Sauce for a perfect finish.
1 cup hazelnut butter (like peanut butter, made from hazelnuts)
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons brandy or cognac (optional)