There is a bleakness that comes in the middle of winter to those of us who live in the midwest. The holiday cheer that kept us warm through the beginning of winter – the first snowfall, the first single-digit degree day – has past and we realized we have more months of winter left than we’ve already had. As I said, it is a bleak prospect.
So we find other ways to cheer ourselves and feel cozy through the long winter months. I would argue that food – and especially desserts – have heartening properties. Jaime and I cooked up this recipe for Cinnamon Honeyed Pears with Puff Pasty a few months ago. It is the perfect way to warm your tummy and your home. The smells of vanilla and cinnamon and cloves and honey will keep even the coldest winter winds at bay.
4 small bosc or bartlett semi-ripe pears
1 sheet of ready made puff pastry dough, thawed
4 c. water
2 c. sugar
1 c. honey
1 vanilla bean, seeded with hull reserved
6-8 whole cloves
3 cinnamon sticks
1/2c. cinnamon sugar
1. Peel and core pears from the bottom leaving the stem intact. Cut the bottom of each pear flat so that it will stand up on its own and set aside.
2. In a saucepan, combine the 4 c. water, 2 c. sugar and 1 c. honey. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. When the sugar has melted, add the pears, vanilla seeds and hull, 1/2 lemon, cinnamon sticks and cloves. Simmer pears until they can be pierced with a fork easily. Depending on how ripe your pears are this can take anywhere from 20-60 minutes.
3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
4. Remove pears from liquid and set aside to cool. Discard remaining solid bits from liquid but reserve the rest of the liquid for a glaze.
5. Unfold thawed pastry sheet and cut it crosswise into 1/2-inch wide strips. Dredge each pastry strip through cinnamon sugar and, starting from the bottom of the cooled pears, wrap puff pastry around the pear working upwards. When you come to the end of a pastry strip, brush it lightly with water and press to stick to the next pastry strip. Continue wrapping until you reach the top of the pear. Tuck the end of the last pastry piece behind the previous dough spiral. Repeat with the remaining pears and pastry strips.
6. Place the wrapped pears in a lipped-baking dish and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the pastry is golden-brown.
7. Serve drizzled with the heated cinnamon honey glaze or vanilla ice cream. Garnish with a cinnamon stick.
XO – Rae