Pear Tart in a Cage ~ Tarte aux Poires en Cage

A light dessert in a pinch is poached pears in wine. It’s easy, you can start it when you serve the appetizers, it’s refreshing in the summer with a scoop of good ice cream or served warm, a cozy way to end a winter meal. If you have a special dinner coming up and want to serve something elegant but not complicated, have been working late every night and have no time, fear not. You can take this poached pear concept one step further and have a visually beautiful dessert that will wow your friends. This one does require a trip to the kitchen gadget store – or a trip to heaven in my case – for a funny little torture device looking thing called a lattice cutter. Roll this across your pastry dough, pull apart gently et voila…lattice!

A docker for poking holes in puff pastry and a lattice slicer for making lattice designs

This recipe calls for pears, frangipane, and puff pastry. That’s it, c’est tout! Puff pastry is not for the faint of heart and usually takes two days to make. I’ll save that for Shuna, the resident pastry chef extraordinaire, as only she can describe. Suffice to say I am tres (very) lazy so I am more than happy to buy pre-made puff pastry (I know you are cringing Shuna!) for a quick last minute dessert or quiche. Anything to make life easier these days…

Pear Tart in a Cage ~ Tarte aux Poires en Cage

– 2 pkgs puff pastry
– 14 oz sugar
– 2 cups water
– 2 pears
– 1/2 lemon
– 1/2 cup frangipane (almond paste)
– 1 egg
– 3-4 tbsp cream
– 3-4 tbsp apricot jam
– warm water

1. Heat oven to 350F.

2. Unroll thawed puff pastry flat and refreeze

3. Peel the pears, cut in half, core with a melon baler and rub with the lemon half.

4. Bring the sugar and water (simple syrup) to a simmer and add the pears. Cover with a damp dish cloth and simmer for approximately 15 minutes or until only a slight resistance to a knife. When done, set aside pears on a paper towel on a dish.

5. Take the dough out of the freezer and roll the lattice cutter across one of the sheets. You might need to go over the slits with a paring knife.

6. Slowly pull apart the dough so a beautiful lattice forms. (I let my dough get to soft so it was hard to pull apart evenly. Do this when the dough is as cold as possible but not so cold it breaks.) Chill.

7. Take the other sheet of puff pastry and cut out the shape of a pear. Chill.

You can do all this ahead of time. To assemble and bake:

8. Take out the pear cut-outs pastry. Place a small scoop of frangipane in the scopped out part of the pear and set it, cut side down, on the pastry.

9. In a small bowl combine the egg and cream. Brush the pastry around the sides of the pear.

10. Take out the lattice pastry and cut out the same pear shapes. You can make a cut out from a piece of cardboard such as the back of a pad of paper. Brush the top of the lattice pastry with egg wash.

11. Lay each piece gently on top of the pear (the colder the dough the easier to handle). Press down gently and trim the edges with a paring knife.

12. Bake for approximately 15-20 minutes until it turns a golden brown.

13. Combine apricot jam and water and microwave until warm. Mix it together then strain it to get out the clums of apricot. Brush it over the pears when they come out of the oven to give it a shiny glaze.

Garnish it with caramel squiggles or a small scoop of the best vanilla ice cream you can find. The WOW factor will be very high. Bon Appetit!

Tarte aux Poires en Cage 18 February,2006Cucina Testa Rossa

  • shuna fish lydon

    Cringing? Moi?


    Puff pastry making is for people with sheeters or temperature controlled kitchens or for staff that takes learning home instead of a paycheck.

    Anyway, one must really understand how to treat puff with hands and oven before working so hard just to ruin it in the end!

  • Meg

    What a great idea – I love it!


Cucina Testa Rossa

After a decade in Silicon Valley, Laura traded her keyboard for a cutting board and moved to New York City to immerse herself in food and wine studies and restaurant operations. She graduated from the French Culinary Institute where she studied under Master Chefs Jacques Pépin, André Soltner, Alain Sailhac, and Master Sommelier Andrea Immer. While in New York, Laura cooked with some of the world’s most highly acclaimed chefs including Mario Lohninger (Danube), Morimoto, Mark Franz & Emily Luchetti (Farallon), Michael Romano (Union Square Café), Mario Batali, Marcella Hazan, Jonathan Cartwright (White Barn Inn), Martin Heierling (Bellagio), Dave Pasternack (Esca), Richard Reddington (Redd, Auberge du Soleil), and the legendary Alice Waters (Chez Panisse).

After working as the Back Kitchen Chef of Jacques Pépin’s PBS cooking show, “Fast Food, My Way”, Laura moved to France to cook her way around the country. She cooked at the Cannes Film Festival, then to the northwest corner of France, to Britanny, to cook on a lobster boat, then east to Paris to the world famous Pierre Hermé Patisserie where she made thousands of his macarons every day! Laura cooked for the fabulous Olivia de Havilland and interned at 3 Michelin Star Le Cinq under Chef Philippe Legendre and Pastry Chef Fabrice Lecleir. Laura was the executive chef and cooking instructor at the DaVinci Code chateau outside of Paris where she was on set during the filming of the movie.

In Fall 2007, Laura worked on Jacques Pepin’s most recent PBS television series as prop and food stylist. “More Fast Food, My Way” should air in the Spring of 2008. “My Keyboard for a Cutting Board ~ Adventures in a French kitchen v1.0”, Laura’s first book highlights her first three months cooking in France, was published in Summer 2006. Convivialité is her second book and will hopefully be published in the fall.

Laura now splits her time between Paris and the San Francisco Bay Area doing private chefing, teaching cooking classes and leading market tours when in Paris. Bon Appetit!

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