You can substitute regular pears in this recipe but the asian pears offer a slight firmness and delicate sweetness to the finished dish that I love! It's a bit labor intensive in that you have to glaze your pears 4 times as it's cooking and while it cools. This method is what will give it a real sheen, just like the tarts you see in a French patisserie. If this is too much for you - skip one or two of the glazings and I'm sure it will taste just as good. This is delicious served with brunch or as a special dessert with vanilla ice cream. Both of my kids helped me prepare this dish and were begging for seconds! Cooking time: 45 minutes
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed at room temp for 20 minutes
1 egg slightly beaten with a little water (1 tbsp) to make an egg wash
2 large Asian Pears - firm but ripe - not soft or bruised - I like to use the Japanese variety called "nashi" that has a clear yellow, brown or yellow-brown skin
1/3 cup of apricot jam and 2 tsp of water - you can substitute any other jam that would compliment the pears; orange, peach, fig
juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp of sugar
1. Preheat oven to 400F
2. On a floured surface, roll out the pastry so that it's about 14 X 8 inches - not too much bigger than its frozen state. Just keep evenly rolling it out until it's the same thickness all around. Using a sharp knife or pastry wheel, cut off about a 1/2 inch strip from each side. Using a pastry brush, dip the egg wash to glue your strips to the sides and wet the edges of the rectangle. Put the strips on the edges to form a rim around the rectangle. Then brush the entire pastry includes the tops of the trim with the egg wash and transfer to an ungreased baking sheet.
3. Peel, halve and core the asian pears. Cut into lengthwise thin slices. Squeeze some lemon juice over the pears to prevent discoloring.
4. Microwave the jam and water for about 1 minute. Stir the melted jam and water so that it has a nice brushing consistency.
5. Sprinkle the pastry with 1 tbsp of sugar all around. Arrange the pear slices on the pastry, overlapping them to make them attractive and uniform. Sprinkle the pears with another tbsp of sugar. Brush the tops of the pears with the melted jam. Bake for 15 minutes.
6. Take it out of the oven and glaze again with the jam and water mixture. Continue baking for another 15 minutes.
7. Remove from oven and glaze again but before you put it back in the oven, cover the edges with tinfoil so that they don't burn. Continue baking for a final 15 minutes.