Bosc Pears en Croute with Speck & Pecorino Toscano
Borgo Antico Ristorante
New York, NY
Makes 4 servings
4 Bosc pears, peeled and halved
Coarse sea salt
12 thin slices Speck Alto Adige or proscuitto
4 ounces soft Pecorino Toscano or soft mild sheep’s milk cheese
2-3 stems fresh tarragon
4 6-inch squares puff pastry, rolled thin
2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
4 whole cloves
Sauce and garnish
1 cup heavy cream
2 ounces freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts, skinned
2 ounces sliced black truffle in oil
Fresh basil leaves
Preheat oven to 400ºF.
Remove pear cores, making a cavity about 1 inch in diameter and 1/2 inch deep. Place cut side down on a foil lined baking sheet. Sprinkle lightly with salt. Bake 15-20 minutes until tender but still firm. A toothpick or tip of a sharp knife should have a little resistance when inserted. Cool.
Cut 4 pieces of cheese the size of the pear cavities. Press cheese into a ball and place in the cavity of four pears; enclose with a matching pear half. Place about 6 tarragon leaves on the outside of each pear. Wrap pears with slices of speck, covering as much of the pear as possible. Set pears in center of a pastry square; pull sides of pastry up, twisting pastry at the stem end of pears. Insert a clove to resemble pear stems.
Set pears on a foil or parchment lined baking sheet. Brush pastry with egg yolk. Bake pears at 400ºF for 20-25 minutes until pastry is golden brown. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
Meanwhile, simmer cream, Parmesan and pepper over medium heat until cream is reduced and slightly thickened. Keep warm.
To serve, place warm pears on serving plates. Cut vertically with a sharp knife (an electric knife works well), and arrange pear halves leaning against each other with the cheese pooling around them. Spoon pepper cream around pears and garnish with hazelnuts and sliced truffles.