We like to cut puff pastry into a variety of appealing shapes; here we use a pear-shaped cutter. We fill the pastries with almond cream and slices of pear (try to find pears close to the size of your cutter), and then cover them with a lattice topping made with a lattice bicycle cutter. It’s a fun tool and it makes it very easy to create the lattice. The open topping is visually appealing and also allows some of the fruit juices to reduce, concentrating the flavor.
- Yield: 6 Servings
- Puff Pastry
- ½ cup (100 g) Almond Cream, at room temperature
- Poached Pears, drained well on paper towels
- Egg Wash
- Lightly flour the work surface and a rolling pin. Lightly dust the top of the puff pastry and roll it outward from the center, flipping, fluffing, and rotating it and turning it over, adding only enough flour to the work surface, dough, and/ or pin as necessary to prevent sticking. Cut the puff pastry in half. Roll each piece into an 11-by-16-inch rectangle, about Vs inch thick. Line the backs of two sheet pans with parchment paper. Top each with a piece of puff pastry. Trim the edges so that they are straight.
- Using the pear-shaped cutter, and working 1 inch from the edges, press 6 impressions into one piece of pastry: Make the first impression and then rotate the cutter 180 degrees so that the top of the next impression is beside the bottom of the first one, then rotate the cutter again, and repeat.
- Place the almond cream in the pastry bag. Pipe filling, about 16 grams/1 generous tablespoon, into each impression, leaving a ½-inch border all around.
- Trim the pears as necessary so they will just cover the almond cream. Cut each pear half crosswise into slices about 1/8 inch thick. Keeping them together, fan the slices of each half slightly as you lay them over the filling; they should be ½ inch from the sides. If any of the almond cream spreads when the pears are added, wipe the border of dough clean. Brush the borders with egg wash.
- Cut the remaining piece of dough crosswise into 6 rectangles. The pastry must be very cold before it is cut with the lattice cutter, so place it in the freezer or refrigerator if necessary.
- Using the lattice cutter, cut 1 piece of dough from one short end to the other. Lift it and pull the long sides apart to form the lattice. Lay the dough over one of the pears and let it drape down and over the scoring from the pear cutter. Line up the pear cutter with the scoring and cut through both layers of pastry. Remove the trimmings, and continue with the remaining pastry and tarts.
- Brush egg wash over the pastry and refrigerate for 1 hour, or until cold.
- Brush the feuilletes with egg wash a second time and refrigerate for another hour. (The feuilletes can be refrigerated for up to 1 day or frozen for up to 3 days. If frozen, bake them directly from the freezer; the baking time will be slightly longer.)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (standard). Line a sheet pan with a Silpat or parchment.
- Carefully transfer the feuilletes to the sheet pan. Bake for about 35 minutes, rotating the pan once halfway through, until the feuilletes are a rich golden brown. Set the pan on a cooling rack and cool completely.
- The feuilletes are best the day they are baked.