When I start the process of creating a new cocktail recipe, I often think about seasonal dishes and flavor combinations in the food I’ve been eating as a source of inspiration. However, it’s not very often that the opposite happens and a menu item is inspired by a cocktail, as was the case with these ginger pear tartlets I made over the weekend. Ever since mixing up that addictive spiked ginger-apple juice last week, I haven’t been able to get the flavor combo off my mind. For last Saturday’s dinner party, I wanted a dessert that was simple, seasonal and could be assembled almost completely in advance. Enter puff pastry, my go-to solution for when I want to look fancy without actually being fancy, and I riffed off the flavors in that cocktail for a luscious, undeniably fallish dinner party finale. Keep reading for the really easy recipe that, thankfully, received two thumbs up from everyone at the table…
- 1 – 14 oz package all-butter puff pastry (I like Dufour… and yes, the all-butter makes a major difference!)
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 3 firm Bartlett pears
- kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- 3 tablespoons amaretto, divided
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream, chilled
- 2 teaspoons confectioner’s sugar, sifted
- 1/4 cup crystallized ginger, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup shelled pistachios, chopped
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lay out puff pastry on a cutting board and, working very quickly so that pastry doesn’t become too warm, sprinkle 2 tablespoons sugar over the top. Use a rolling pin to lightly press sugar into pastry. (Still working quickly), flip pastry over and sprinkle 2 more tablespoons of sugar over pastry. Roll into a 12 x 16″ rectangle. Use a cookie cutter or the rim of a teacup to cut pastry into 12 circles that are between 3″ and 4″ in diameter.
- Transfer circles to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Prick all over with a fork, then top pastry rounds with another sheet of parchment paper and another baking sheet to weigh it down. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the top sheet of parchment and top baking sheet, and return to oven to bake for another 5 – 10 minutes more, until golden brown allover. Transfer to a baking rack to cool.
- Peel, core and slice the pears into 1/2″ wedges. Cut each wedge in half crosswise. In a skillet over medium-high heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Add the pears and cook for a couple minutes, tossing gently. Add a pinch of salt, the grated ginger and the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, and cook over high heat for 3 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons amaretto and continue cooking for another minute or two to let some of the liquor evaporate. Set aside to cool slightly.
- In the bowl of a standing mixer, beat the cream until it begins to thicken. Add the remaining tablespoon of amaretto and the confectioner’s sugar. Continue beating until soft peaks form.
- To assemble the tartlets, arrange puff pastry rounds on a platter. Top with a dollop of whipped cream, 3 or 4 pieces of pear with a little of their syrup and a sprinkle of crystallized ginger and pistachios. Serve immediately.
*to make this for a party: prepare the puff pastry rounds and pears up to 24 hours in advance. Keep the pastry sealed in an airtight container at room temperature, and keep the pears covered in the refrigerator. Rewarm the pears just before assembling.
Technique adapted from this Food & Wine recipe. Photos by Camille.
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