Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Pear Almond Crostata

I find it terribly amusing that there is a show on Food Network based on a South Park song. It's called "What Would Brian Boitano Make?" Yes, the figure skater. He is quite the ham on the show. He made this pear thing and I had pears. What other reason do I need. I did make the executive decision not to use almond paste. It's expensive. Instead I used a pie crust and just made one big crostata. It was yummy.

Pear Almond Crostata

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
2 eggs, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 (7-ounce) packages almond paste (or whatever crust you want to use)
2 Bartlett pears
1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
2 tablespoons raw sugar
1 pint cherry vanilla ice cream
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
8 fresh mint sprigs

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
In a medium bowl, add cream cheese, sugar, flour, 1 egg and vanilla. Beat with a hand mixer until well blended and smooth. Set aside.

Divide each package of almond paste into 4 equal portions. On a floured work surface roll each portion into a 6-inch round, about 1/8-inch thick. Put 2 tablespoons of the cream cheese filling into the center of each round. Spread the filling out in an even layer, about 1/2-inch from the edge of the round.

Quarter each pear and remove the core. Cut each quarter into 5 slices. Fan out 5 of the pear slices on top of the filling in the center of 1 of the rounds. Gently fold the edge of the almond paste round over the edge of the filling. Transfer to the prepared baking sheets and repeat with the remaining almond rounds, filling and pears.

Whisk together the remaining egg and 1 tablespoon of water in a small bowl until well blended. Using a pastry brush lightly brush each crostata with the egg wash and sprinkle each with the raw sugar.

Put the baking sheets into the oven and bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool. Serve each crostata on individual plates with a small scoop of ice cream and garnished with sliced almonds and mint

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