Tarte aux Poires en Cage

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Pear Tart in a Cage ~ Tarte aux Poires en Cage

A light dessert in a pinch is poached pears in wine. It's easy, you can start it when you serve the appetizers, it's refreshing in the summer with a scoop of good ice cream or served warm, a cozy way to end a winter meal. If you have a special dinner coming up and want to serve something elegant but not complicated, have been working late every night and have no time, fear not. You can take this poached pear concept one step further and have a visually beautiful dessert that will wow your friends. This one does require a trip to the kitchen gadget store - or a trip to heaven in my case - for a funny little torture device looking thing called a lattice cutter. Roll this across your pastry dough, pull apart gently et voila...lattice!

A docker for poking holes in puff pastry and a lattice slicer for making lattice designs

This recipe calls for pears, frangipane, and puff pastry. That's it, c'est tout! Puff pastry is not for the faint of heart and usually takes two days to make. I'll save that for Shuna, the resident pastry chef extraordinaire, as only she can describe. Suffice to say I am tres (very) lazy so I am more than happy to buy pre-made puff pastry (I know you are cringing Shuna!) for a quick last minute dessert or quiche. Anything to make life easier these days...


Pear Tart in a Cage ~ Tarte aux Poires en Cage

- 2 pkgs puff pastry
- 14 oz sugar
- 2 cups water
- 2 pears
- 1/2 lemon
- 1/2 cup frangipane (almond paste)
- 1 egg
- 3-4 tbsp cream
- 3-4 tbsp apricot jam
- warm water

1. Heat oven to 350F.

2. Unroll thawed puff pastry flat and refreeze

3. Peel the pears, cut in half, core with a melon baler and rub with the lemon half.

4. Bring the sugar and water (simple syrup) to a simmer and add the pears. Cover with a damp dish cloth and simmer for approximately 15 minutes or until only a slight resistance to a knife. When done, set aside pears on a paper towel on a dish.

5. Take the dough out of the freezer and roll the lattice cutter across one of the sheets. You might need to go over the slits with a paring knife.

6. Slowly pull apart the dough so a beautiful lattice forms. (I let my dough get to soft so it was hard to pull apart evenly. Do this when the dough is as cold as possible but not so cold it breaks.) Chill.

7. Take the other sheet of puff pastry and cut out the shape of a pear. Chill.

You can do all this ahead of time. To assemble and bake:

8. Take out the pear cut-outs pastry. Place a small scoop of frangipane in the scopped out part of the pear and set it, cut side down, on the pastry.

9. In a small bowl combine the egg and cream. Brush the pastry around the sides of the pear.

10. Take out the lattice pastry and cut out the same pear shapes. You can make a cut out from a piece of cardboard such as the back of a pad of paper. Brush the top of the lattice pastry with egg wash.

11. Lay each piece gently on top of the pear (the colder the dough the easier to handle). Press down gently and trim the edges with a paring knife.

12. Bake for approximately 15-20 minutes until it turns a golden brown.

13. Combine apricot jam and water and microwave until warm. Mix it together then strain it to get out the clums of apricot. Brush it over the pears when they come out of the oven to give it a shiny glaze.

Garnish it with caramel squiggles or a small scoop of the best vanilla ice cream you can find. The WOW factor will be very high. Bon Appetit!