This is my favorite “fancy” breakfast recipe for weekends, holidays or one of those “just because” days. And, if wrapping pears and almond cream in puff pastry isn’t easy enough, I discovered a way to make this easy pastry recipe even faster.
My favorite thing to do in the kitchen is baking. Especially when I am baking fancy little pastries and cakes. The only problem is that I don’t like “baker’s hours.” You know the kind… get up at 3:00 in the morning, bake on your feet ’til noon then, collapse in a heap before the sun goes down or anyone is home from school… kind of hours? Ya. Those hours.
Well, I have found a way around that with this easy pastry recipe. It has been a favorite of my family’s for a long time but, I have just discovered something that has changed my life. Cooking the filling in the microwave—the microwave! Boy, they didn’t teach that one in culinary school! You just throw the pears, sugar and seasonings into a bag and zap them. It’s that easy! I didn’t think that wrapping pears and almond cream in store bought puff pastry could get any easier. I was wrong!
Here are my tips for making this easy pastry recipe—
- Thaw the puff pastry overnight in the refrigerator so that it thaws evenly and prevents it from getting soggy.
- Roll out the pastry “slightly” Just enough to smooth out the folds and flatten it.
- “Dock” the dough by pricking it with a fork every few inches or so. That way, the stem will escape and the dough will rise evenly.
- Sprinkle the dough with a little sugar before adding the almond cream.
- Spread the almond cream generously down the center third of the pastry.
- Layer with filling that is not too wet.
- Braid the pastry over the top of the filling and brush lightly with an egg wash.
- Sprinkle with a little more sugar.
- Put the pastry in the oven at a high temperature to start baking then, lower the temperature.
Don’t let the puff pastry scare you. It really is easy to work with. And, if you don’t care for pears, it is very easy to substitute any fruit your family does like. I try to use seasonal fruit like peaches, apples, plums or even a little bit of jam or marmalade. If it is a very wet fruit like peaches, reduce the tablespoon of water or leave it out. Feel free to leave the almond cream out, as well. But trust me, you are going to LOVE this almond cream recipe! It is from my culinary school commercial baking teacher and it is yummy! Save the leftovers for spreading on brioche or challah bread and toasting it in the oven with a little fruit or jam. You will thing you woke up in Paris! I make a much larger batch and bake the almond cream in tart shells.
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I hope you and your loved ones love this easy pastry recipe! It really is more delicious than buying a pastry in a fancy bakery because it will be warm from your very own oven.
If you have any questions at all, you can leave a comment here on Mother’s Niche and you can always find me at home on Everyday Southwest.
See ya soon!
- 1 package frozen bought puff pastry
- granulated sugar for dusting.
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 2 teaspoons water
- Almond Cream:
- 2 ounces Almond Paste
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup butter (room temperature)
- 2 large eggs (not extra large)
- Pear Filling:
- 2 firm pears peeled, cored and sliced
- 1 tart apple peeled, cored and sliced
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- pinch of cloves (optional)
- 1 spoonful granulated sugar
- 1 spoonful brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon water (if necessary)
- sanding sugar (or coarse sugar) for sprinkling
- Remove puff pastry from freezer and thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees and prepare a baking sheet with lightly greased parchment paper.
- In a mixing bowl, beat the almond paste, butter and sugar together until well mixed and "fluffy." Beat in the two eggs. Set aside.
- Peel and slice the pears and apple then, place in a gallon sized or two quart sized FREEZER bags. Do not over fill or use storage bags. The filling will get very hot and the bag needs to stand up to the heat.
- Divide the spices, cornstarch and sugar between the bags and shake well to make sure the fruit is covered.
- Seal the bag leaving it about one quarter of the way open to act as a vent for the steam. Microwave for 2 minutes. Let the bag sit to cool off in the microwave (it will be VERY hot).
- Remove the puff pastry from its wrapper and spread out on a lightly floured cutting board or counter. Dust both sides of the pastry with granulated sugar. Roll the dough slightly with a rolling pin just enough to smooth out the creases in the dough.
- Turn the dough so that the two "creases" in the puff pastry line up going away from you and you see the dough separated into thirds. On one of the outside thirds of the dough, make horizontal cuts that are parallel to each other and 1 inch apart. Repeat on the other, outer third section of the dough. The center of the dough should be uncut.
- Spread the almond cream generously in the center, uncut section of the pastry. Remember that the almond ceam will melt some while baking.
- Arrange the pear mixture in the center of the puff pastry. Leave one inch at the top and bottom of the pastry empty. Cut off the top and bottom strips from each side of the pastry leaving one inch of dough in the center third section. Fold the top inch of dough from the center section over the pears and repeat with the bottom inch of dough. Fold the cut strips over the pear filling one at a time at a slight diagonal. Alternate between the left and the right so that your pastry will look like it is braided. Tuck the excess dough of each strip under the pastry. Place on the parchment lined baking sheet.
- If the dough has become warm, return the braided pastry to the refrigerator to chill before baking.
- Before baking, beat the egg and the water together with a fork and brush over the pastry. Sprinkle with sanding sugar or coarse sugar.
- Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 350 and bake for 15 to 25 minutes more or until the pastry is golden brown and cooked through.