Beth’s cousins have a property out near Worcester, that at one time was a campground, complete with a beach, a summer house, outdoor firepits, covered picnic areas, the whole nine yards (although a lot bigger than nine yards!). It also featured a beautiful pond area, and each summer we head there for a big family reunion. Cousins, children of cousins, food, fun, late nights, and camping and kayaking out under the summer sky!
Because of COVID, the summer reunion was scaled back, and we ended up not going at all. So this weekend, Indigenous People’s Day weekend, we decided to make time to drive west to both visit the Swedish Cemetery where Beth’s parents and other relatives are buried, but also to stop by to visit her cousins, take a drive down to the pond area, and just enjoy sitting outside under the trees, eating Apple Walnut Scones, and one of my Coconut Cardamom Apple Pies.
Amazingly enough, there were pears waiting to be picked, and when we arrived home with these hard as a rock windfall pears, I did some research to find the best way to use them in a recipe! We’re so glad to have discovered our new favorite dessert!
Spiced Pear and Blueberry Tart
- 6 – 7 windfall pears
- 1 TB dried valencia orange peels
- 1 TB whole cloves
- 8 – 9 Star Anise pods
- 8 – 9 whole cardamom pods
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 pre-made puff pastry sheets, thawed and unfolded
- 1/2 cup mascarpone (divided in two)
- 4 TB butter
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 1/3 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
- 1/2 cup pear nectar
- 1/4 cup or more confectioner’s sugar
- 1/2 TB cinnamon
- Fill a dutch oven pan about 3/4 of the way with water
- Add orange peel, cloves, star anise, cinnamon sticks, and cardamom pods
- Place pears in, stem side up, unpeeled
- Add or reduce water as needed to make sure pears are mostly submerged
- Set heat to medium until boiling, then reduce to simmer and cook for 30 – 45 minutes, until a fork can be inserted and pear skins are easy to scrape off with a spoon
- Remove pears from spiced water and set into a bowl to cool
- Once pears are cool, cut sections off of core and into very thin slices (leave the skin on)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Melt mascarpone slightly and whish together with butter and cinnamon
- Spray two cooking trays lightly with cooking spray
- Place the pastry sheets each on one of the prepared trays
- Using a brush, cover the puff pastry sheet up to 3/4″ of the sides with the mascarpone mixture
- Layer pears in alternating rows
- Scatter blueberries on top of pear slices
- Sprinkle with brown sugar and drizzle more mascarpone over all
- Repeat the process on the second pastry sheet
- Bake in the oven for 15 – 20 minutes until the edges of the pastry are browned
- Remove from oven and cool
- Drizzle with pear icing (see below)
Whisk together pear nectar and confectioner’s sugar until you have the consistency of icing you’d like. Start with just a few tables spoons of nectar and slowly add sugar then nectar, rather than just using the full half cup. Once you have the consistency, add a small amount of cinnamon. Otherwise you’ll end up making far more icing than you want! (Take it from experience!)
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