The moment that Julia from A Slice of Cherry Pie announced that this month's In The Bag challenge involved pears, I knew I had to make this pear tart in a cage. I was inspired by my good friends on the recipe forum over at gardenbuddies.com to make this. I bought the lattice cutter a couple months ago and have been dying to find an excuse to use it. Thanks, Julia, for this challenge! I'm glad I got the chance and I'm so happy with how this turned out.
The ingredients that were required for this challenge were pears, lemon and nuts. Perfect matching ingredients if you ask me. I started by peeling bosq pears and removing the seeds and core with a melon baller. The pear halves were poached in a syrup of water, sugar, honey and lemon juice until the pears were just tender, about 15 minutes. These were set aside until ready to use.
Puff pastry is the ingredient that really elevates this dessert to a higher level. Pastry sheets are cut into the shape of the pear. Half of the pastry is latticed using a lattice roller that makes for perfect slits in the pastry. The pear half pocket where the seeds and core were removed was filled with frangipane (almond paste). The pear was placed cut side down on the pastry and the lattice placed on top. The edges were brushed with beaten egg and pressed together. The whole thing was brushed with beaten egg and placed in a 350 °F oven until the pastry puffed and turned a golden brown color, about 20 minutes. Once out of the oven the pears were brushed with a glaze made from fresh squeezed lemon juice and honey to give it that shine and a wonderful flavor. As you can see in the first picture, the final dessert was garnished with toasted blanched almonds and lemon zest. Truly a dessert with an impressive presentation. I just have to make this for some guests now!
I served my tarte aux poires en cage with an almond ice milk. I would normally make a nice rich ice cream, but remember, I'm trying to cut the fat and calories these days. So, I made an almond ice milk that is sugar free and low in fat. This is simply made from 1/2 cup of blanched almonds that had been powdered in the food processor, 4 cups of fat free skim milk, 1/2 cup of splenda sugar substitute and a couple tables spoons of frangelico liquor. The texture was a bit more loose than a creamy ice cream but it tasted really almondy.
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