Chocolate-Truffle Stuffed Pear Wreath
This beautiful tart will make a gorgeous centerpiece at your holiday party. Its lightly spiced pears wrapped in buttery puff pastry hide a surprise-a molten chocolate center.
|1 750 milliliter||bottle dry red wine|
|1/4 cup||granulated sugar|
|2||whole star anise|
|1||vanilla bean, split and scraped|
|1 tablespoon||orange zest (from about half an orange)|
|3||pears, peeled, halved and cored|
|1 17.3 ounce||package puff pastry|
|all-purpose flour, for dusting|
|6||dark chocolate truffles, such as godiva|
|1||large egg white|
|sanding sugar, for decorating|
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Combine the wine, granulated sugar, cinnamon sticks, star anise, vanilla bean seeds and orange zest in a medium pan over medium-high heat and bring the poaching liquid to a boil. Nestle the pear halves curved-side down in the poaching liquid (it is okay if they aren't fully submerged). Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat, flip the pears over so the opposite side is now submerged and allow the pears to cool to room temperature in the poaching liquid, about 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, roll out a sheet of the puff pastry on a lightly floured surface to a 12-inch square; this will be the bottom of your wreath.
Roll out the second sheet of puff pastry on a lightly floured surface to a 12-by-13-inch rectangle. Trim off a 1-by-12-inch strip, then cut twelve 1-inch leaf shapes out of the dough with a paring knife. Gently press the paring knife blade into each leaf to make the impression of veins on the leaves, and set the leaves aside for later.
Working vertically, cut a column of 1 1/2-inch vertical slits in the remaining 12-inch square of dough, leaving 1/4-inch of space in between each slit. Space a second vertical column of slits 1/2-inch from the first with the first slit of the second column starting halfway down the first slit in the first column and finishing halfway down the second slit in the first column. Continue this pattern until the entire square of dough is marked. Stack the top and bottom tart doughs and the leaves on a baking sheet with parchment between each and cover with plastic wrap. Chill in the fridge until the dough is firmer and easier to work with, about 20 minutes.
Place the bottom piece of puff pastry on a sheet of parchment paper and assemble the tart by placing a 3-inch bowl in the center. Stuff each pear center with a chocolate truffle and arrange the 6 pear halves cut-side down with the stem ends pointing out around the bowl, leaving a 3/4-inch space between the bottom of the bowl and the bottoms of the pears.
Brush the dough surrounding the pears with the egg white. Place the dough with the slits over the top of the pears and gently stretch it to create diamond-shaped openings. Press the dough down all around each pear to seal it. Use a paring knife to cut around the perimeter of the bowl, and remove the bowl and the central piece of dough. Press to seal that edge as well. Use your paring knife to trim the extra dough from the edges, following the outline of the pears, leaving a 1/2-inch border of the dough.
Brush the tops of the puff with the egg white. Attach 2 leaves to the stem end of each pear, and brush those with egg wash too. Sprinkle the tart with sanding sugar. Use the parchment to carefully transfer the tart to an 18-by-13-inch baking sheet.
Bake the tart until the pastry is risen and golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool 5 minutes before serving.