Poached Pears and Chevre on Puff Pastry
These appetizers are delightful. They look like little birds flitting across the platter, and they taste like heaven: Crisp, buttery pastry cups filled with tangy chèvre and lush poached pears and drizzled in a lightly sweet syrup spiked with black tea and spice.
It’s also a clever recipe that’s fun and easy to execute. Poached pears make everything more fancy. And, until we did it, we never would have thought to cut down our puff-pastry cups into smaller bites. Now that we have, we’ll be making them all through the holidays and filling them with all kinds of wonderful stuff — like French silk and berries or sundried tomatoes and pesto.
Our tips: If you trim the bottom of the pears flat, they’ll stand to attention in your poaching liquid and cook more evenly. On the puff pastry, if you place a sheet pan on top of your formed puff-pastry cups before you slide them in the oven, it’ll keep them from over-puffing as they bake. Get all your ingredients at Gelson's Today!
Servings: 12 to 18
4 cups water
2 Tbsp black tea
1 small cinnamon stick
½ vanilla pod, seeded, pod reserved
4 Tbsp agave nectar
¼ cup sugar
2 Comice pears, peeled and bottoms trimmed flat
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
Flour for dusting
8 oz chèvre, ¼-inch slices, crumbled
1 Tbsp chives
Flake salt, to taste
- Preheat the oven to 400º.
- For the poaching tea, place the black tea, cinnamon stick, and vanilla pod and beans in a cheese cloth measuring 6 x 6 inches. Fold the ends together and tie them to form a sachet.
- In a small saucepan, bring the water to a boil, place the sachet in it, and reduce the heat to a simmer. Add the agave nectar and sugar. Let the ingredients steep and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add the half lemon and the pears to the tea, and simmer for 30 minutes, or until tender. (Timing will depend on the ripeness of your pears.)
- Remove the pears from the tea, and chill them in the refrigerator until cool to the touch.
- Continue cooking the tea until it reduces down to about a ½ cup of syrup.
- For the puff-pastry cups, lay the pastry sheet flat on a lightly floured surface. Place a standard 12-cup muffin tin on top and gently press to make 9 indentations. Remove muffin tin and cut squares around each indentations.
- Turn the muffin tin upside down, drape the pastry squares over the muffin cups, and gently press them around the top of the muffin cups to form pastry cups. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes. Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack.
- Once cool, cut each cup from corner to corner, creating 4 bite-size cups.
- Arrange the cups on a serving tray, and add about 1 teaspoon of chèvre to each of them.
- Chop the cool pears into a medium dice, and put about a tablespoon of them on top of the goat cheese.
- Spoon the syrup over pears and cheese, and garnish with the sliced chive.