Pear Tartlets with Maple Walnuts
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Pear Tartlets with Maple Walnuts
These Pear Tartlets with Maple Walnuts are the perfect grand finale to your next Sunday night dinner. You can make everything ahead of time and pop the pear tartlets into the oven while you eat dinner. The pears are first poached in apple cider and then finished in the oven on a bed of puff pastry. You can sip the pear-infused cider afterwards, too! A dollop of cinnamon-scented whipped cream helps bring the whole dessert together.
For the Pear Tartlets
- 8 cups apple cider
- The juice of a lemon
- 4 pears
- 2 sheets puff pastry (17.3oz box), thawed
- 1 egg
For the Maple Walnuts
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 cup walnut pieces
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- ¼ cup light corn syrup
- 1 tablespoon poaching liquid
For the Cinnamon Whipped Cream
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1. To the make the Pear Tartlets, set out the frozen puff pastry on the counter to thaw. Remove the sheets from the box and wrapper and cover with a slightly dampened dish towel. This will ensure that the pastry thaws by the time you need to use it.
2. Combine the apple cider and lemon juice into a large stock pot and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. While the cider is heating up, peel the pears, making sure to keep the stems attached for a nice presentation. Retain 1 cup of the pear peels and add to the cider. This will boost the pear flavor. Once the cider is simmering, carefully add the pears and poach for 10 minutes. The pears should be tender but not falling apart. Begin checking them after about 8 minutes. Depending on how ripe the pears are, they could be ready.
3. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the pears to a plate to cool. Strain the poaching liquid into a smaller sauce pot and discard the pear peels. Keep the poaching liquid warm for a delicious drink to accompany the tartlets when they’re ready. Reheat just before serving. To add a little punch, pour an ounce of spiced rum into your mug.
4. At this time you should do the following things to set yourself up for the rest of the steps: Preheat the oven to 425, place a small metal mixing bowl and whisk in the freezer (for the whipped cream), crack an egg in to a small dish and add a tablespoon of water to make an egg wash, and set out two baking sheets lined with parchment paper or silpats.
5. Once cool enough to handle, cut the pears in half, making sure to keep the stems attached one of the halves. Use a spoon to core the pears. Place the pears cut-side down on a cutting board and make vertical cuts about a half-inch apart along the curve of the fruit, leaving the top inch or so of the pear intact so that it stays together. Set aside for now.
6. Lightly flour a clean work surface and work with one sheet of puff pastry at a time, leaving the other under the dampened towel. Sprinkle a little flour on top of the pastry and rub flour on the rolling pin. Gently roll out the pastry in all directions until it’s increased in size by a third. Cut the pastry in half lengthwise and crosswise to make four squares. Transfer the squares to one baking sheet and repeat the process for the other pastry and baking sheet.
7. Press down gently on the pears to fan out the slices a little bit and use a spatula to carefully transfer them to the squares of puff pastry on the baking sheets. Fold over the edges of the pastry squares to create a small “crust” along the border of the tart. The side borders and especially the bottom border will likely cover some of the pear as you fold. Brush the tops of the pastry with the egg wash, trying your best to not get any on the pears themselves.
8. Move the baking sheets into the oven and bake the pear tartlets for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, rotate the sheets 180 degrees and alternate the oven the rack they were on (e.g. move the top to the bottom and the bottom to the top). Bake for another 10 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown.
9. While the pear tartlets are baking, make the Maple Walnuts. Melt the butter in a medium skillet and toast the walnut pieces for 5 minutes over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. Be careful to not burn the walnuts in the final minutes as they can go from toasted to burned pretty quickly. While the walnuts are toasting, combine the maple syrup, light corn syrup and a tablespoon of the poaching liquid in a small mixing bowl. Whisk to combine. When the walnuts are finished and still hot, dump them into the maple syrup mixture and toss throughly to coat. Set aside.
10. Once the pear tartlets are golden brown, remove them from the oven and allow to cool briefly. While the pear tartlets are cooling, remove the mixing bowl and whisk from the freezer. Combine all ingredients in the Cinnamon Whipped Cream section and whip vigorously for 3 to 4 minutes or until stiff peaks form.
11. Divide the pear tartlets across 8 dessert plates and garnish with a generous scoop of the Maple Walnuts and Cinnamon Whipped Cream. Serve right away with a mug of the poaching liquid.