Thursday, December 4, 2008

Festive Brandy Pear Dumplings

Last week a dear friend came over and shared her cherished family tradition of making Apple Dumplings. The dough reminded me of my Ulster Kitchen scone recipe and once again I could sense the influence of how the old European world recipes were adapted to create new world classical American traditions and comforting home cooking. So, with Christmas approaching, I decided to take my own spin on this by using pears and brandy for that special festive touch…and this dessert will be on our menu on Christmas Day!

We enjoyed eating them with Caramel flavored ice cream and a dollop of freshly whipped cream. Your feedback as always is welcomed.

Merry Christmas and eat your way through the season with Joy!

6 medium Pears (peeled and cored)

(Brandy Sugar Syrup)
4 Tbsp Brandy
½ cup sugar
½ cup water

(Spiced Sugar Syrup)
1 ¾ cups water
1 ½ cups sugar
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
few drops of red food coloring
3 Tbsp butter

2 cups all purpose flour (sifted)
½ tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
2/3 cups (128g) shortening
½ cup milk


To make the brandy sugar syrup by boiling the water, sugar and brandy together for 2 minutes and set aside to cool. Make spiced sugar syrup by placing water, sugar, spices and food coloring and boil for 3 minutes in another small saucepan. Stir in butter.

To make the pastry sift the flour, baking powder and salt. Use pastry cutter or tips of fingers to rub in shortening to resemble coarse breadcrumbs. Stir in milk with a metal spoon to combine.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Peel pears and carefully insert an apple corer in to the base of the pear stopping to keep the pear stem in tact, twist and pull out seeds. Spoon brandy syrup over pears and marinade for a few minutes.

Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to an 18x12’ rectangle. Cut in to 6 squares.

Use a skewer to make a small hole in the center of dough squares for the pear stem. Brush edges of pastry with water and place dough over pear. Pinch together with fingers to help form a tight seal and tuck excess dough to the base.

Place pears 1’ apart in a 12x9’ pan. Pour syrup over dumplings and place in oven to bake for 30 minutes. Continue to baste with syrup every 10 minutes to allow syrup to caramelize over crust.

Remove from oven and serve spooning remaining syrup over pears.