Monday, November 30, 2009

Royal Foodie Joust: Pear, Ginger & Fennel

This month's joust featured pear, ginger and fennel. Not too unusual, but unusual enough that I felt like I was doing one of the TGRWT events. Since I had been playing around with pithiviers I thought I would combine the two concepts. What I ended up with was a ginger pear filled pithivier with fennel infused butter puff pastry.

I used Jacques Torres' Quick Puff Pastry recipe, but any will do. I started by melting half of the recipe's butter in a sauce pan, sautéeing it with one cup of diced fennel. I let that sit for an hour covered to cool, then strained the fennel. I allowed the remaining butter to come to room temp, then in a mixer I creamed the infused and remaining butter until will combined, then chilled. I proceeded with the recipe as usual at this point.

Next take 4 pounds of crisp pears, peel them, cut them vertically in half, core them and then slice them 1/16" thick uniformly - I used a meat slicer. Butter a baking dish - preferably glass. Fan the pears over the entire surface, brush with melted butter and lightly sprinkle with dark muscovado sugar. Keep layering until all of your pears are used - I ended up with about six layers in this dish. Grate a fresh ginger on the top. Wrap the entire dish with two good coverings of saran wrap to make it airtight. Then poke a few holes in the top to allow steam to escape. Place the pan on a foil lined jelly roll pan. Throw it in an oven set to 175ºF and bake for 10-12 hours. Make sure that if your oven has an automatic shut off that you disable it - mine is called Sabbath Mode. What comes out is perfectly soft and moist pears that maintain their structure. (You'll note that this is exactly what I did a couple of days ago with apples.)

Finally, make an almond cream:
1 C. Almonds, processed into powder
1/3 C. Sugar
1/2 C. Butter, softened
1 Egg
1/4 C. AP Flour

Cream the butter, almonds and sugar until light in a mixer with whisk attachment. Add the egg and whisk for about 5 minutes or until doubled in bulk and very light. Turn the mixer to low and add the flour stopping when just combined.

Roll your puff to 1/16" and cut your first disk. Place a dollop of the almond cream topped with a spoonful of the pears. Brush the edges with an eggwash (1 egg, 2 yolks, 1 T water). Cut the second disk and place on top of the first sealing the edges. On the top, cut a vent in the center then carefully cut in decorative work if you want. Bake at 350ºF for 20 minutes. While its baking, combine 1/4 C. of corn syrup with 1 T. warm water. Brush the syrup mixture on top and return to oven for another 20 minutes or until the puff is a nice dark brown.


Tri2Cook said...

Nice one Rob. I just popped over to the forum and voted for you. Looks like my vote pushed you into the lead in "best overall". Hope it sticks. This is two rounds in a row I missed at RFJ and I'm going to have to get moving to make the TGRWT deadline.

Gfron1 said...

Thanks. Its a bad pic, but the pithivier was good and the idea of infusing the butter still is sparking new ideas. And as of right now I'm still in the lead with your vote.

Pam said...


Congrats on the Joust!


Manggy said...

OMG you won!!! Well-deserved. Now, if only I had the ingenuity to think of infusing the butter for my pastry- I'll try that trick next time! :)