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Pears, Stuffed Poached (D, TNT)
Source: My idea inspired by recipe on Essence of Emeril
Serves: 12

2 cups sugar
2 cups water
2 vanilla beans
4 quarts mixture of champagne and port (about 3 to 1)
12 Bartlett pears, ripe but firm
2 packages frozen puff pastry sheets, defrosted
1 egg mixed with 1 teaspoon water (egg wash)
1/2 cup sugar

1 8 oz. carton Marscapone cheese
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans
zest of 1/2 orange

Make Pears:
Cut slice off bottom of pears so they stand upright. Leave the stem on. Core pears from the bottom, leaving a nice hole for the stuffing.

In saucepan combine 2 cups sugar and the water together and boil for 2-3 minutes, creating a simple syrup.

Split vanilla beans in half, scraping the inside to remove the pulp. Add the champagne and port and vanilla pulp to the simple syrup. Bring to a simmer and add the pears.

Poach until tender, 6-8 minutes. If pears are not fully ripe it will take longer. Test by putting knife into the bottom. It should slide nicely without any resistance. Don't let them get mushy. Remove pears to cool.

Add 1/2 cup sugar and reduce champagne-port mixture until thick. (It will be even thicker when cool.) You will only need a little of this reduction. Refrigerate leftovers and you have a pear champagne jelly.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Make Stuffing and Assembly:
Beat cheese with sugar until smooth. Add remaining stuffing ingredients and stuff into cooled poached pears.

Roll out pastry sheets to half their thickness. Place each stuffed pear in the pastry and wrap, trimming any excess, leaving the shape of the pear evident with the stem showing. To smooth dough around pears, dip your fingers in water and press on seams.

Brush each pear with egg wash and bake until golden, about 8 minutes.

Place reduced champagne-port mixture into a ketchup dispenser and squeeze on in a design of your choice. Serve and take bows!

Poster's Notes:
The piece de resistance of my Thanksgiving table this year was this unusual dessert. As I was making it I swore I'd never do it again (so much work!), but when I saw the reaction, I decided it was a keeper. I really took a chance and made it without testing: and what a chance! I decided not to do the usual 14 pies etc.; one dessert was enough, so I had no backup. The baking with the puff pastry (something I never worked with before) was at the last minute. I sure do live on the edge! Anyway it was a success. I did learn two things: I hadn't scooped out a big enough hole for the stuffing and also I used too thick a wrapping of puff pastry so it was a little thick. Therefore I have amended the recipe to rolling out the pastry thin. It is very rich, but if you've never worked with it before, very forgiving. If any of you actually try it, let me know please how you like it and if you made any changes.

Posted by Judy Bart Kancigor

Nutritional Info Per Serving: N/A