Pear and pecan caramel puff

Autumn took its time arriving this year, all the more reason to celebrate with a piece of pie. This pie. There’s no such thing as pies at Le Cordon Bleu, we only do tarts. Beautiful tarts, with audacious names and countless layers of finesse; and I love them, I do. But for those chilly, Autumn nights spent on the sofa catching up on Breaking Bad, the comfort of pie wins out. So this pie is two things – an homage to Autumn and a collision of comfort and elegance, bringing together the nutty, caramel cuddle of pecan pie, with spiced poached pear and buttery, puff pastry.

Pear and pecan caramel puff pastry pie ingredients

  • 375g all butter puff pastry
  • 2 tbsp of apricot jam
  • 1 egg, beaten for egg wash

for the pears…

  • 3 Conference pears
  • 250ml water
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 cardamom pods, crushed
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • juice of half a lemon

for the pecan caramel…

  • 100g pecans, roughly chopped
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 250ml double cream
  • 50g honey
  1. First up, make the poaching syrup for the pears. Add the sugar, water, zest, lemon juice, vanilla and spices into a large saucepan and heat until all the sugar has dissolved. Next, peel, core and halve the pears, placing them cut side down into the syrup. Cut out a disc of parchment paper to cover the pears while they poach in the simmering syrup, this stops the syrup from evaporating as the fruit cooks. Give the pears a good 15mins poaching time, although if they are very ripe, check after 10. When they are soft, and can be pierced with the tip of a knife, they’re done and can be left in the pan, off the heat, until you’re ready for them.
  2. Caramel time! Don’t worry, this doesn’t involve sugar thermometers or a massive amount of nerve, trust me we can do this. Simply pour the sugar into a saucepan and put it on a medium heat. The key to a smooth caramel is not to stir the sugar so just leave it to melt, slowly turning golden brown. You can swill the pan occasionally once the sugar is changing colour but just remember, no stirring. When all the sugar is dissolved and golden brown, turn down the heat and add the honey, it will bubble but won’t go crazy. Next, add the cream in three inclusions, stirring each time until it is all fully incorporated and boom, you’ve made caramel sauce. Finally stir through the nuts and set to one side to cool slightly. Preheat the oven to 180° / Gas Mark 4.
  3. Roll out the pastry and cut out a 24cm circle (I say 24cm but you can really make this pie any size you like) plus a strip about 2cm wide which will form the sides of the pie. Brush some beaten egg around the edge of your circle and then place the strip of pastry on top, all the way round. Pour the nutty caramel into the centre of pie, spreading evenly so that it fills the whole space. Slice the pears and arrange the slices on top of the caramel. Then, to make sure your pastry is golden after baking, brush some beaten egg onto the raised edge. Pop the pie in the oven for 30mins.
  4. When the pie is fresh out of the oven it’s time to glaze this baby and for that you just need to heat the apricot jam with a couple of tablespoons of the pear poaching syrup until it reduces slightly. Brush the glaze all over the fruit and pastry and you’ll have a super shiny finish. Slice and serve warm, drizzled with cream or lashings of ice cream, I’ll leave that up to you.

2 thoughts on “Pear and pecan caramel puff

  1. Pingback: Caramel Pecan Bars | Anne's Home Place

  2. Pingback: Les poires en pâte feuilletée (Pears in Puff Pastry) | LauraLovingLife

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