Saturday, July 1, 2017

Ruby Pears in a Golden Cage

A Medieval style dessert! A touch of turmeric tints the pastry while a raspberry jam and honey glaze colours the pears with a decadent blush. Just wait until you discover the hidden heart of strawberry granola!

Ruby Pears in a Golden Cage

Happy Canada Day! Today, we Canadians celebrate the country's sesquicentennial - 150 year anniversary - and the festivities have been going on literally all year. Spending the last school year teaching Canadian Civics, I was given the rare opportunity to re-live my discovery of just what makes the country tick, challenging my students to figure out why they loved this country and helping them understand why we do some of the things we do. I love seeing how a nation that is so divided on certain things - language representation, Indigenous peoples and even who to cheer for every Saturday night in Winter - can all take today to simply party their butts off knowing that we live in the BEST COUNTRY ON EARTH.

Of course, today also marks another birthday - this blog's! Today marks this blog's 10-year anniversary, and I honestly can't believe it's been so long! I know posting has been slowly dwindling as I've become embroiled in my new career (and will likely stay slow now that I'm both working and back in school) but it's been a joy to write every post I do, connect with great brands and most of all, meet (either personally or virtually) awesome people with the same passion for cooking, baking, canning and food that I do. Groups and events like Sunday Supper, Bread Bakers and the Creative Cookie Exchange have made me feel like I'm a part of something, and I cherish the ability to take part.

Ruby Pears in a Golden CageIn true What Smells So Good? style, I'm marking my blogday with a pastry. This recipe was the one I developed for our school's year-end play, starting by making a plated dessert of a stuffed, glazed pear wrapped in turmeric-laced dough. This mimicked some of the Medieval style desserts I had read about, which utilized fruit as a main component, and saffron was commonly added to regal dishes. As we were serving a "feast at the castle", turmeric worked admirably and gave the dough a lovely hue. For the night of the play, I streamlined things a bit (I had to make 90!) so they turned into "pop-tarts" with a diced filling and a latticed topper. Either way, the result is delicious - and surprisingly light on the palate, making it ideal for Summer sweet tables.


Full Size:

Ruby Pears in a Golden Cage
Serves 4

Crust:
5 ounces (1 cup) unbleached all-purpose flour
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
½ tsp turmeric
1 oz cold unsalted butter, diced
1 oz shortening
1/4 tsp apple cider vinegar
3-4 tbsp ice water

Pears:
2 small-medium pears, peeled and halved
1 tbsp strawberry (or your favourite) granola (I used Nature's Path Summer Berries)
2 tsp butter
2 tbsp seedless raspberry jam
1 tbsp honey
  1. Combine the flour, salt,sugar and turmeric in a bowl.
  2. Add the butter and shortening and cut in until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  3. Mix the vinegar and cold water and add, one tablespoon at a time, to the flour mixture, stirring with a fork until just combined. Wrap in plastic and chill 1 hour.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 F, ideally with a baking stone.
  5. Use a melon baller to scoop out the pear seeds, leaving a small hole.
  6. With a paring knife, carefully notch out the stem.
  7. In a small dish mix the granola and butter. Place evenly into the cavity of each pear half and set aside.
  8. Melt the jam and honey together, set aside.
  9. Roll out ⅔ of the pastry on a floured surface to ¼” thick and divide into 4 pieces, each just large enough for a pear half.
  10. Flip the pear halves onto each pastry square and brush with jam mixture.
  11. Roll out the remaining pastry to ⅛”-¼” thick and cut into strips.
  12. Form strips into a lattice over each pear, pressing to seal at the bottom.
  13. Use a knife to trim around the pears, and form stems and leaves with the excess crust
  14. Bake until pie crust is golden and juice is bubbling out from pears, about 20 minutes if your pear is very ripe, up to 40 with firm pears.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 323.5
Total Fat: 14.2 g
Cholesterol: 19.9 mg
Sodium: 53.9 mg
Total Carbs: 45.8 g
Dietary Fiber: 3.2 g
Protein: 3.8 g

Tart Size (high-yield):

Enough crust for 6-7 double crust 9" pies, made with a dash of turmeric

Pears
20 small-medium pears, peeled and diced
½ cup seedless raspberry jam
3 tbsp honey
¼ cup tapioca starch + 1/3 tbsp cold water
½ cup granola
  1. Combine the pears, jam and honey in a pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until pears are cooked through and ruby red.
  2. Stir in the starch mixture and cook until thickened and clear. Set aside to cool.
  3. Roll out one packet of pastry on a floured surface into a rectangle about 1/8″ thick and 9″ x 12″. Mark (don’t cut) dough into 12 even rectangles.
  4. Roll out another packet of pastry and dock with a lattice cutter (optional). Set aside.
  5. Place a spoonful of filling in the centre of each marked rectangle and top with granola.
  6. Place latticed sheet of pastry on top and press gently around the filling to seal. If not latticing, Top with solid sheet and press gently around the filling to seal.
  7. Cut into 12 even rectangles and fold the edges over to seal the lattice. Dock solid-topped pastries with a fork
  8. Repeat with remaining pastry and filling
  9. Gently place the tarts on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  10. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  11. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until they’re a light golden brown. Cool in pan on rack.