These puff pastry-wrapped pears are so elegant, you won’t believe how easy they are to make! Serve them with chocolate espresso sauce for the perfect bittersweet accompaniment. This recipe calls for poaching the pears before baking them, but if your pears are quite ripe and soft, the poaching step can be skipped and you can go straight to baking.
Place the chopped chocolate in a medium bowl. Pour the cream into a small saucepan, and place over medium heat. Heat the cream until it is almost boiling, and bubbles appear all along the sides of the pan.
Pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate, and let it sit for a minute to soften the chocolate. Add the hot espresso, and whisk everything together until your sauce is shiny and smooth. Use it right away, or if you’re saving it for later, press a layer of cling wrap directly on top of the chocolate sauce. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week.
If the sauce has been refrigerated, microwave it in short bursts and whisk until it is once again liquid, shiny, and smooth.
To Make the Puff Pastry-Wrapped Pears:
Use a small paring knife to core the pears from the bottom, removing the core and seeds. Leave the stems attached. Peel the pears. If your pears are hard, proceed to the poaching step. If they’re very ripe and soft, skip the poaching and go straight to the puff pastry step.
To poach the pears: combine the water, sugar, cinnamon sticks, vanilla, and lemon slices in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir while the sugar dissolves, and bring the mixture to a low boil. Add the pears, and reduce the heat to medium-low. Poach, uncovered, for 18-20 minutes, until the pears are tender but not mushy. Remove the pears with a slotted spoon and let them cool to room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 400 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and set the pears on the baking sheet in evenly spaced intervals. Lightly flour your work surface, and carefully unfold a sheet of puff pastry, pressing any cracks back together with your fingertips. Use a pastry wheel or sharp knife to cut the pastry into ½-inch strips. Whisk the egg in a cup or small bowl.
Start at the bottom of a pear, and wind a strip of pastry around the base. When the strip ends, brush a little bit of beaten egg on the end, and press a new strip on top of it. Continue winding strips of pastry around the pear, covering it completely, until you get to the top. Repeat with the remaining pears and puff pastry. If you have extra pastry, you can use a small leaf cutter to cut out pastry leaves, and glue them to the tops of the pears with egg wash.
Brush the pears all over with the egg, and sprinkle with granulated sugar. Bake for 20 minutes, and if you notice the tops of the pears are getting dark, place a small tent of foil on top of each pear to prevent the tops from burning. Bake for an additional 5-10 minutes, until the sides of the pear are golden brown. Let the pears cool slightly, until they’re warm but not hot, and serve with a generous drizzle of warm chocolate syrup on top.