The best desserts are simple ones, delicious bites that highlight beautiful ingredients prepared in spectacular ways. Most recently, I have taken a liking to not-too-sweet desserts. I love fruit dessert presentations that show off the natural beauty, unique shape and incredible character of the fruit itself.
This dessert is just that: simple, gorgeous and not too sweet. The contrast of flavors and textures between the pastry, pears, cranberries, and dates is incredible. The puffed pastry outlines the natural shape of the pears and the pastry leaves add dimension and flair.
This dessert may be served at room temperature or warm. It can be served a la mode with just a bit of ice cream to add a temperature contrast, as well.
puffed pastry sheet
4 pears, ripe and soft to the touch
12 fresh or frozen cranberries
handful of chopped dates (optional)
egg wash (optional)
Wash pears well and using paring knife, cut pears in half through each core, keeping the stem intact. With a melon baller, scoop the core out of the middle of each pear.
Fill each scooped-out pear hole with 3 cranberries and a few chopped dates.
Using rolling pin, roll out puffed pastry sheet on cutting mat. Carefully place pears on pastry cut side down, making sure that cranberries and dates do not fall out. Using sharp paring knife, trace around the pears, leaving a 1/4″ border of pastry around the pear. Cut 8 leaf shapes out of the pastry sheet and score each leaf with paring knife to resemble the veins of the leaf. Score the tops of each pair in a grid-like pattern.
Line a baking sheet with parchment and carefully place each pastry pear on the sheet. Place two leaves on the top of each pear. Optionally, brush the pastry with egg wash.
Bake at 375 degrees F for 20 minutes.
Serve with a dusting of powdered sugar and/or a dollop of whipped cream.