As much as I miss the luscious sweetness of summer fruits – lychees, mangoes, passionfruit and peaches – I always welcome the autumn and winter months with open arms. It’s a time for warm and nourishing foods such as stews, hotpots, casseroles, fruit crumbles and baked pies.
It so happened that a box of the most gorgeous new season Williams’ and Packham’s Triumph pears arrived on my doorstep last week. Their rich autumn colours and its incredible fragrant scent was all the inspiration I needed in the kitchen that week.
I curled up on the couch with a couple of them sliced au naturel with some liver pate and crackers; and who can get enough of the pear/rocket/walnut/parmesan/balsamic glaze combo?
But the real show stopper were these baked pear dumplings.
Whole pears are stuffed with a decadent chocolate and almond mixture and baked in a moreish shortcrust pastry shell. Think of them as whole pear tarts.
I’ve also incorporated a subtle hint of five-spice powder in the chocolate filling to create a more exotic and complex flavour which really complements the sweetness of the baked pears.
They’re unbelievably easy to make, look so very cute and taste rather amazing!
Baked pear dumplings
Adapted from BBC Good Food
Makes two pear dumplings (to be halved to serve four)
2 sheets of store-bought shortcrust pastry
2 ripe pears
35g ground almonds
50g Lindt 70% cocoa cooking chocolate
⅓ teaspoon five spice powder
milk (or egg white), to glaze
caster sugar, to glaze
Pre-heat oven to 200°C.
Melt the chocolate and mix with the almonds and five-spice powder.
Pull the stalk out of each pear and keep them aside. Core the pears using an apple corer or sharp knife – make sure you scoop out all the seeds.
Cut both sheets of pastry into a circle about 20cm in diameter. Reserve some to make the pastry leaves.
Fill the pears with the chocolate mixture.
Brush the edges of the pastry with water and fold the pastry up around the pear, keeping the shape of the pear. Press to seal and trim off any excess. Brush with milk (or egg whites) and sprinkle with caster sugar.
If you have the inclination, make some pastry leaves to stick them to the tops of the pears. Stick a reserved stalk back in each and bake on a buttered baking sheet for 30 minutes until the pastry is golden.
JENIUS received the box of pears courtesy of IMPACT Communications