Stuffed Pears En Croute
Fancy name I know. Stuffed Pears En Croute really just means I took some pears and cut a hole in the middle and shoved some cheese in there and then wrapped them in a pie crust or a puff pastry. I made both versions to see which one we liked best. By we I mean you and I. Because I have begun making decisions for you in my head. I feel like I know you that well so it’s ok.
Here we go again with the easy. It really, really is easy and looks like a really sophisticated dessert or appetizer. That’s why I name it Stuffed Pears En Croute because the name has to hold up to the sophistication of the dish. See for yourself.
See…told ya. Looks super fancy. Well to me it does!
I couldn’t decide whether to do a pie crust wrapped pear or puff pastry. And I also couldn’t decide on blue cheese or brie so I did a couple of each. They were different but both worked so, so well.
I used Comice pears. You can use any pear you have or have an affinity to but I chose these because they are super dense and would hold up well being baked and also because they have a great shape. Most of them will sit on their own. If you can’t find any pears that will cooperate with you on the standing up part then just slice a small section off the bottom and that should fix it.
Originally I thought I would need an apple corer. You know that long tool that just cuts straight down the middle and takes out any core or seeds? Well turns out, no. I needed the bottom to stay intact. This is the wrong way.
Then I just decided to cut my own hole with a sharp knife. I made my hole go about half way down. It could have been deeper but I wanted to make sure not to break through the bottom so my stuffing of cheese stayed inside the pear.
Also, keep your tops. It makes the finished product look a lot prettier and keeps the cheese from oozing out.
The first one was the pie crust and blue cheese. Yes, this is a store bought pie crust. Besides the fact that I can be lazy in the kitchen when I want to be, I also like to make things as easy as possible for you guys. So many of you work and have kids and so many other responsibilities that if we can substitute something store bought that is close to what you’d spend a lot more time and effort on if it was homemade, then I’m all for it. There are times when I get really in the mood to make something intricate or with a ton of steps but today wasn’t one of them!
I mean if we got right down to it I could probably make my own blue cheese but that’s not going to happen either!
I rolled out the pie crust and cut thin strips and wrapped the pear. I added 2-3 tablespoons of blue cheese and put his little hat back on. I drizzled him with honey and put him in the oven for about 40 minutes. It turned out awesome! When I drizzled the honey on before I cooked it, a happy little kitchen accident happened. As soon as I did it I worried that I had made a huge mistake. I just knew the honey that ran off onto the baking mat would burn terribly and scent the pears with a smokey burned sugar smell as well as anything that went in my oven for weeks and my entire house but I wasn’t about to throw them out, so I crossed my fingers and let it go. Stay tuned for what happened. I fell in love.
This is what it looked like when I finished. SO pretty and so yummy. But wait…that’s not sophisticated enough. Let’s say it was divine.
(Just pretend you don’t see those piercing marks from me testing the doneness with a fork.)
Once I saw this and knew my idea was working, I moved on to the puff pastry brie version. Puff pastry really thaws fast. If you don’t have any in your freezer, grab some next time you’re at the store. It’s a great thing to have on hand and takes up very little space. I’ll make some things with it soon to give you some quick and easy appetizer ideas.
I grabbed a wheel of brie. I’m making something with this tomorrow so I knew I had an extra wheel. I love brie so much. Like so, so much.
I used a cute little pastry cutter/wheel that I thought would make them look even MORE f-aint-cy but the little ruffle on the edge disappears so use a plain old knife or pizza wheel. Just cut in narrow strips like so…
I wrapped my cute little pear with the puff pastry and (totally forgot this in the first version) brushed it with an egg wash and sprinkled ever so lightly with sugar. The sugar probably did nothing but I wanted to try. So, remember the happy accident earlier? The honey didn’t burn and smoke at all like I thought it would. It turned into a hard honey candy. So this time I made little honey candy medallions. They won’t stay this cute but they served the purpose.
I baked it low and slow and this time I didn’t put the honey on the pear until about half way through. This is what it looked like minus the cooked pear.
It looks a mess, right? Well it’s not. It takes just a few minutes for it to cool and using this silpat, I just bent it back and peeled my honey candy off. Super simple. It still does look a messs but it’s so worth looking at it ugly. It tastes DIVINE! 🙂
Again, I’ll get around to why this matters in a minute.
This is how the second batch turned out and this is my favorite by far since I am so in love with brie.
See the honey drizzle action?
I took the ugly honey candy and crunched it up and sprinkled it over the pear. It’s dark flavored and crunchy but chewy and sticks to your teeth but in a good way. It doesn’t in any way enhance the pictures at all (that’s why I saved them for last…so that I could impress you with my cooking skills before I dumped this monstrosity on you) but I would do it again because I loved it that much. Although next time I’ll do my best to pretty it up a bit. Maybe slice it with the fluted pastry knife or try somehow to get better shapes. After I had consumed my pear, it occurred to me. I could have cut the honey candy into large, jagged pieces and stabbed them into the pear like at a fancy restaurant dessert. Man! I hate it when I come up with something better AFTER I’m done! The honey candy is a little cranky though so worst case scenario, I’ll deal with it any way it likes.
See the Brie oozing out? The pear is still semi-firm but juicy while you have the buttery puff pastry and the sticky and sweet honey. Then there’s the soft and creamy brie and the crunchy (ugly) honey candy. It has all the elements of a party in your mouth.
I know this post was photo heavy but they all told their part of the story in some way.
UPDATED TO ADD: Because of the great response I’ve gotten on this recipe I am linking it to 2 link round-ups. If you’d like to see some other fun posts all on one page, take a look at the following sites. It’s a smorgasbord!
If you get just a minute, pop over a take a peek!
- 4 Comice pears (choose pears that stand well on their own)
- 1 box puff pastry, thawed
- 4 ounces brie or blue cheese
- 1 cup honey
- 1 egg
- Pre-heat oven to 300.
- Wash and dry pears.
- With a sharp knife, cut a hole in the top of the pear down toward core and remove as much of the core and seeds as possible without cutting through the bottom.
- Cut the core away from the top of the pear so that it will sit comfortably back on top of the pear.
- Stuff each pear with 1 ounce of cheese (or as much as you can get inside and still put the top back on).
- Cut puff pastry into half inch strips.
- Beginning at the bottom, wrap pears with pastry strips until you reach the top.
- Press lightly to join the strips to one another.
- Beat egg and brush a light coat over the outside of the pastry.
- Place on baking pan lined with Silpat liner.
- If making honey candy, pour 1 teaspoon rounds near the center of the Silpat liner. You'll use approximately 3 teaspoons for each pear.
- Bake pears for 30 minutes at 300 degrees.
- Remove and drizzle 3 tablespoons over the top of each pear, raise the temperature to 350 and return to the oven to bake for another 15-20 minutes depending on how hard your pears were to begin with and how soft you want the end result to be.
- Remove from oven, let cool.
- Break honey candy in bits, sprinkle on pears and drizzle with a little extra honey if desired.
This could also very, very easily be made with apples as well.
What do you think? Simple enough?