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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Brie-Pear Tartlets with Maple Pomegranate Glaze

These brie-pear tartlets are subtle and richly delicious.  The delicacy of the cheese is echoed by puff pastry, and offset by the tart/sweet combination of pomegranate molasses/maple syrup glaze.  They are fun to make, and are a truly elegant dessert.

My latest batch of brie and camembert is now ripe, so I've been considering different ways to use them.  Brie has different characteristics than other cheeses when melted; it's quite mild and buttery, and the flavor can be a backdrop for other, stronger flavors.  In this recipe, I've combined pomegranate molasses with Vermont maple syrup for a new taste that is really quite remarkable.  I think you'll like how this works with the cheese.

Brie-Pear Tartlets with Maple Pomegranate Glaze

In Preparation:
Heat oven to 425F
Place 6 small (3-inch) tartlet pans with removable bottoms on a jelly roll pan.
Gather Ingredients
Make Quick Sourdough Puff Pastry (below)


Quick Sourdough Puff Pastry:
1/2 cup flour, plus flour for rolling out
1/4 pound (1 stick) salted butter

Tartlet filling:
1 small wheel real brie, either homemade or high-quality imported brie.  
1 ripe pear
pomegranate molasses (available at specialty markets)
Vermont maple syrup, Grade A Medium Amber preferably


Quick Sourdough Puff Pastry:
  1. Put the flour in a circle on the counter.  
  2. Place the thick sourdough starter in the center of the circle.
  3. Using a plastic spatula, fold the flour up and into the starter, until a soft dough is formed.
  4. Using your fingers, work a bit more flour into the dough, until most of the flour is incorporated, and the dough is firm enough to roll out.
  5. Roll the dough on the floured counter, to a 12-inch square.  Using a cheese slicer, take thin slices of the butter and make a 5-inch diamond in the center of the square.  There will be several layers of butter slices.
  6. Fold the corners of dough to the center, enclosing the butter.  Seal the edges together.
  7. Pat, then roll gently to a rectagle.  Fold like a letter:  right side folds to a point 2/3 up the length.  Then the left side folds over the right, to the edge, forming 3 equal layers.
  8. Roll to a rectagle again, and fold like a letter again.  This is a turn.  Refrigerate 20 minutes
  9. Roll out and give two more turns.  Refrigerate 20 minutes
  10. Roll out and give one more turn.  The pastry is ready to use; roll to a 10-inch square, and refrigerate on a floured plate until ready to use.

Filling and baking the Tartlets:
  1.  Roll out the pastry to 1/4 inch thick.
  2.  Using the tartlet pan as a cookie cutter, cut a piece of dough.  Invert and let the dough slide down into the pan slightly.  Using another pan, cut a second circle, then cut a hole in the center with a biscuit cutter.  This forms a ring to use as the edge piece to lay on after filling.
  3. Drizzle a small amount of pomegranate molasses into the center of the shell.  Place a small wedge of brie on top, then a small wedge of pear on top of the brie.  Drizzle on a bit more (around 1 tsp) pomegranate molasses, then 1/2 tsp maple syrup.
  4. Place the edge ring of pastry in the form, press down lightly.  (Note:  if you find this difficult to do, then place the edge ring before filling the tartlet, and be careful to not drizzle glaze on the edge)
  5. Bake for 20 minutes at 425F or until puffed and golden.

  6. Cool slightly, then remove from forms.   Decorate with a berry or other fruit.
  7. In a bowl, combine 3 T each of pomegranate molasses and maple syrup.  Drizzle liberally on plate, then top with a tartlet.
  8. Enjoy!

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