An anjou pear poached in red wine lazes on a pillow of puff pastry in a bed of nutty frangipane in this elegant dessert.

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Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Place pears in a medium saucepan. Add wine, 1/2 cup sugar, cloves, orange juice and zest, and just enough water to cover pears. Scrape in the vanilla seeds, and add the pods. Bring mixture to a boil over high heat, stirring gently. Reduce heat to a simmer, and cook until a paring knife easily pierces the pears, approximately 15 minutes. Transfer poached pears and poaching liquid to a medium heat-proof bowl; set aside to cool.

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  • Place almonds in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Process until finely ground, about 2 minutes.

  • In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and remaining 1/2 cup sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the egg, flour, and ground-almond mixture; mix until combined. Transfer frangipane to a pastry bag fitted with a coupler. Secure top with a rubber band; chill.

  • Lightly flour a clean work surface, and line two baking sheets with parchment. Roll out one piece of puff pastry to a 12-by-14-inch rectangle. Using a paring knife, cut pastry into six equal rectangles. Cut out six pear shapes from each rectangle. From the pastry trimmings, cut out twelve 1 1/2-inch leaves, and press two onto the top of each pear shape. Place assembled shapes on baking pan, and refrigerate until firm. Repeat process with remaining piece of puff pastry.

  • Using a slotted spoon, remove pears from liquid. Cut pears in half, and, using a melon baller, core; set pears aside. Pour liquid through a sieve over a bowl; discard solids.

  • Return liquid to saucepan, and bring to a boil. Cook until liquid has been reduced to a syrup that coats the back of a wooden spoon, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer syrup to a small bowl, and set aside.

  • In a chilled bowl, whip cream until soft peaks form; cover with plastic; chill.

  • Heat oven to 375 degrees. Using a fork, prick center of each pastry. Pipe a triangle of frangipane, about 2 tablespoons total, around each pastry, leaving a 1-inch border. Place a pear half in center of each "pillow."

  • Bake pear pillows until pastry just starts to take on color, 8 to 10 minutes. Combine the corn syrup with 1 teaspoon warm water in a small bowl. Remove pear pillows from oven, and brush pastry edges with corn-syrup wash. Return pillows to oven, and cook until golden brown all over, 15 to 18 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack. Divide desserts among plates, and brush each with reserved wine syrup. Serve each with a dollop of whipped cream.

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