03 November 2007

Puff Pear Tartlettes to the rescue!

What to do when the dinner guests arrive that your husband thought had canceled?
Pull out the home made ravioli that I try to always have tucked away in our freezer for just such occasions, while he makes his much loved standard cinghiale (wild boar) stew. Fab's mother contributes some porcini for pasta sauce and we're almost covered. What to do for dolci? Fresh out of the semi freddo I try to keep on hand also for the afore mentioned situation. Fab doesn't normally get mixed up that often, but we do have hungry guests drop in with little or no notice, no problem. We try to be prepared, as you do in the hospitality business. I certainly got more than my fair share of practice when I worked for Copper Mt Resort, where there were more last minute surprises to cope with than one could possibly imagine, unless you have been in the food business yourself. In a large resort with multiple restaurants, cafeterias, banquets and John Q Public, you can find yourself scrambling to facilitate birthdays, anniversaries, allergies, celebrities and ballooning banquet numbers at the drop of a hankie. Responding calmly and quickly has been a skill honed over the years and quite frankly, I tend to thrive on the challenge or at least don't get too ruffled,.... "e cosi".

So one of my favorite life savers is the fruit puff pastry tarlette.
Depending on the time of the year or what you have on hand I have found pear or apple to be a consistent winner. You can make your own puff pastry as it isn't as difficult as one thinks,
merely time consuming and the results are tasty and satisfying. I added a very easy to follow"How to Make Puff Pastry" video ( if you can just get past the introduction) from
Ms Glaze's Pomme d'Amour.
I do sometimes make up fresh past sfolgia into sheets to freeze, just like commercial bakers, but have found it to suffer a bit more from freezer burn a bit quicker than I like, so I tend to make it when I know I will have a number of occasions to use it within the period of a couple of weeks. Other wise, commercially made frozen sheets will work beautifully and offer a decent result especially when served warm.

So to that end I took one sheet of puff dough cut it into 6 rectangles,
thawed but cold sheet of puff dough, roughly about
9"(23cm) by 12"(30cm).
When using your own home made dough, you want it about a 1/4 inch thick (1/2 cm).
1 tablespoon of jam, I use my apricot or plum usually, but chestnut cream is delicious also. Spread jam in the middle of the dough into a diagonal mound.
3 pears or apples (tart ones are my preference) peeled, halved, cored and very thinly sliced diagonally is nice, keeping the shape of the fruit as you place it on the prepared dough and fan he fruit out slightly.
Be sure to leaf sufficient dough uncovered to allow the dough to puff up around the fruit when baking.
Brush the edges of the bare dough with a bit of egg wash, (egg white mixed with a splash of water)
Sprinkle cinnamon sugar over the top of the fruit and bake at a 375*F 190-200*C till puffed and golden. Serve with vanilla or caramel gelato or sauce and serve.
Wait for the oohs and aahs to commence.

How to Make Puff Pastry

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