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GBBO 5 Technical Bake #5: Poached Pear Pies (GBFBO)

September 6, 2014

Do you know how close I was to just buying puff pastry for this challenge? It’s a good thing Aldi had sold out or this would have been the fake-est of the Great British Fake Bake Off so far. Instead I powered through, made the pastry poached the pears and baked them all good and proper. The only variations this week are that I used ground cinnamon and instead of white wine I used a couple of sloshes of sherry and made up the rest with water.

A lovely…

Two of my pears fell over in the oven. I’m not sure how they avoided this on GBBO. I’m pleased with the softness of the pears though. I think they were cooked just the right amount. The pastry might have benefitted from being a bit thinner but I was surprised at how easy it was to twirl a pear 🙂

Prostrate pears


Mini Pear Pies

Lifted straight fromBBC Good Food 

For the rough puff pastry
200g/7oz plain flour, plus extra for rolling
100g/3½oz butter, in a block, frozen
100g/3½oz lard, in a block, frozen
1 free-range egg, beaten
2 tbsp granulated sugar

For the poached pears
6 large, firm pears (preferably ones that are straight and tall)
300g/10½oz caster sugar
500ml/18fl oz dry white wine
2 cinnamon sticks
1 orange, zest only

Inside perfectly cooked

Preparation method
For the rough puff pastry, measure the flour into a bowl and grate the butter and lard into the flour. Use a knife to coat the butter and lard in the flour. Add 120-150ml/4-5fl oz cold water and mix until it comes together to form a firm dough.
Roll out the pastry on a floured work surface to a rectangle. Fold the top third down and then fold the bottom third up and over. Turn it 90 degrees (a quarter turn) and repeat the rolling and folding. Set aside, covered, in the fridge for 20 minutes.
Repeat the rolling, folding and chilling twice more so you have a total of four folds and turns. Set aside, wrapped in cling film, in the fridge until ready to use.
Meanwhile, for the poached pears, peel the pears, keeping the stems intact. Tip the caster sugar into a large saucepan with 400ml/14fl oz water, the white wine, cinnamon and orange zest and slowly bring to the boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Boil for three minutes.
Add the pears to the pan. Bring back to the boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Reserving the syrup, remove the pears from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside to cool on kitchen paper. Using a melon baller or small teaspoon remove the core from the pears.
Return the syrup to the heat and boil rapidly for 10-15 minutes until the volume of the liquid is reduced by half and the syrup is thick. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
When the fruit and syrup are cool, roll out the chilled pastry to a rectangle measuring 60x20cm/23½x8in and a thickness of no more than 5mm/¼in.
Using a sharp knife and a ruler cut the pastry into long strips 8mm/⅓in wide. You will need about 18-20 strips.
Brush the pears with the cooled sugar syrup and starting from the bottom, wrap the pastry strips around the pears. When you come to the end of the pastry strip, brush the end lightly with syrup and press to adhere to the next pastry strip. Continue wrapping until you reach the top of the pear. (Three strips should cover each pear). Tuck the end of the last pastry piece behind the previous dough spiral.
Cut out six leaf shapes from the remaining pastry. Draw veins on the leaves with a sharp knife and stick one leaf below the stem of each pastry pear, with a little sugar syrup.
Preheat the oven to 200C/180C(Fan)/400F/Gas 6. Place the pastry covered pears on a baking tray. Brush the pastry with beaten egg and sprinkle with the granulated sugar. Bake for 25-30 minutes.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 10-15 minutes then serve with a drizzle of the reduced sugar syrup.

This is being entered into  My GBBO Bakealong and the Great Bloggers Bake Off

4 Comments leave one →
  1. jennypaulin permalink
    September 7, 2014 11:50 pm

    i am so surprised by you ladies who made your own puff pastry! It is something i have never attempted. just aswell Aldi sold out then! x
    thanks for linking up

  2. September 8, 2014 2:03 pm

    Hey Gill, this is Annika from foodie penpals 🙂 VERY cool blog, I’m adding it to my feedly right now!!

  3. September 9, 2014 9:22 pm

    My pears fell over too. I thought it was just because they were tiny. Seems there is more to this than meets the eye.


  1. Great Bloggers Bake Off Round Up #5

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