Saturday, January 14, 2012

Pear and Jarlsberg Pastries with Ginger Green Tea Ice Cream

Hiiiiii.  So.... yeah.  Never did finish posting the cheesecake results.  Apparently eight days in a row was WAY too much for me.  I'll post the rest of those later.  Once I relocate the list of results...

Inspired by the AMAZING NEW COOKWARE Mom got us for Christmas (THANKS MOM!!!!), I picked up some bosc pears, fresh ginger, and lite jarlsberg cheese.  I wasn't really sure what I was going to do with them, but I knew we had some puff pastry in the freezer and I was feeling adventurous. So here's what I ended up doing:

How I did it:

NB: all measurements are VERY approximate.  I didn't measure.  at all.

Ice Cream:
Pour about 2 cups of fat free half-and-half into a small saucepan. Peel and slice a small piece of fresh ginger (I would guess just under 1/4 cup of slices, 1/4 inch thick? about 10 cents worth at Meijer!) and put the slices into the milk along with the contents of one green tea bag.  Heat gently until hot, but not boiling.  Set aside and let steep at least half an hour. After steeping, strain or scoop out the chunks of ginger and mix with 1 can sweetened condensed milk.  (You can add dried ginger here if you want more ginger flavor.  I added a little.) Pour into an ice cream machine and freeze according to the directions that came with the machine. Mine came out pretty soft, so I stuck it in the freezer for a while and it hardened up nicely.

If using puff pastry SHELLS, bake shells according to package directions (mine were 20 minutes at 400 or something like that, but I pulled em a couple minutes early because they looked done to me. While the puff pastry is in the oven, melt ~1 Tablespoon margarine and add 1/4-1/2 cup brown sugar and dried ginger (to taste).  Stir and add 1 pear, sliced thin.  Toss the pears in the syrup until coated.  Add the juice of one lemon (watch for seeds!) and mix.  Cook until the pears are tender (but not mushy!) and the sauce has started to thicken.

While the pears are cooking down, remove puff pastry shells from the oven.  Gently pull the top layer of the pastry up and push down on the center of the inner layers to form a well in the middle of the shell.  Put 2 Tablespoons (? Total guess) shredded jarlsberg cheese into the well and replace the top layer of pastry to cover the cheese and trap in heat (which will melt the cheese...).  Let sit while pears finish cooking.

To plate:
Put one cheese-filled shell on a plate and spoon cooked pears into/over the pastry shell and serve with a scoop of the fresh ice cream, topped with some of the ginger lemon caramel sauce from the pear pan. (The sauce is not on the ice cream in the pic, just a little bit of lemon zest, but let me tell you... the sauce is the way to go.  AWESOME on ice cream.)

If using puff pastry SHEETS: You can either try making shells as above by cutting out circles of puff pastry dough and cutting most of the way through (but not ALL the way) with a smaller circle in the center (bulls-eye style) then baking them until they puff up and turn golden, or make your pastries turnover style, like below.  To do this, prepare pears as above, cut the puff pastry into squares, and put both shredded jarlsberg and pears onto one half (diagonal halves!  so... one corner) of the pastry.  Fold the opposite corner over the filling and bake until puff pastry is golden brown, then remove from oven, brush the top of the pastry with some of the sauce from the pears, and serve with a (melty in this case, this pic was BEFORE the freezer hardening) scoop of your homemade ice cream.  (And in this case, I sprinkled a few SMALL bits of crystallized ginger on top of the dessert.  Good, but fair warning, if you've never used the stuff, it is STRONG.)

So, I hope you all (all 3 of you...) enjoy reading about our culinary adventures, and perhaps trying them for yourself (hint hint hint... you should totally try this, it was fantastic, if I do say so myself).  Let me know if you try making these!  And sorry I didn't take any progress shots.  I wasn't originally planning on posting a how-to, or I would have done that AND measured... at least a little.

Happy baking!


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