Saturday, February 14, 2009
Baked Pears filled with chocolate, Almonds, and Orange in a Flaky Pastry Shell - Valentine's Day Part 1
So this is Ian's and my Valentine's Day Part 1, and of course why not start off with dessert? Today is also our first year anniversary (yay) and we had this amazing reservation at one of the top restaurants in Montreal that we had to book many weeks in advance. Unfortunately with all that was going on this week we had to cancel and spend the night inside, which was a lot of fun!
If you stick around for the next couple days I will be posting the other delightful aspects of our meal, but today we do dessert. And what a dessert it was. I was just flipping through this Jamie Oliver book called Jamie’s Kitchen that I took from home, and this recipe screamed out from between the pages at me. How could I say no? Chocolate inside a pear wrapped in flaky pastry, come on, there isn’t a person out there strong enough to say no.
Now, I don’t know how to accurately explain how marvellous the taste was, it was just so incredible. These little bundles were all you thought they would be, and more. Each flavour played perfectly with the others and came together to make this "Super Dessert". It’s probably what superman eats every day to keep his energy up. I think the key factor to keep in mind is to use good quality chocolate. In this I used Vhalrona Chocolate, but most quality 70% chocolates will do. To put it over the top I served them straight out of the oven with a huge scoop of vanilla bean ice cream on the side.
Now you might be like me and think that filo pastry is daunting and not worth the work. Let me tell you, it is so simple and easy to work with, just buy a package of frozen sheets and slather each layer in butter. This was actually the first time that I worked with filo and I am now saddened that I waited so long. I will be making many more recipes with these flaky tender sheets. Watch out world, I’m going to cover everything in filo!
So just to rub it in, on a day that is practically dedicated to chocolate, Ian and I ate the ultimate in chocolate desserts.
Baked Pears Filled with Chocolate, Almonds, and Orange wrapped in Flaky Pastry
adapted from Jamie's Kitchen, 2002
3 tbsp. blanched almonds
6 tbsp. butter
3 tbsp. sugar
Zest of one orange
2 ½ oz Vhalrona chocolate 70%
16 sheets of filo pastry, defrosted, 8x8 inches
Preheat oven to 350°F. Peel pears and cut core out from the bottom. In a food processor chop almonds, then chocolate. Place in bowl and add sugar, orange zest, and 4 tbsp. of butter. With hands, mix together until uniform. Put ¼ of mixture into bottom of pear, pack extra filling around the base. Repeat for three others. Take one sheet of filo and brush with heated remaining butter, then stack with another filo sheet. Repeat stacking and brushing with butter until there are 4 layers. Wrap pear in filo and twist at the top to keep the package closed. Repeat for other pears. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Serve with vanilla ice cream.