Friday, September 30, 2016

Flashback Friday - Pear and Fig Turnovers with Bourbon Caramel

Sometimes a good restaurant meal inspires good home-cooking. Perhaps not replicating the entire meal, but just one course. Or borrowing the flavors from the appetizer or dessert to create a completely different dish, as in these crisp turnovers filled with a combination of pears and figs and jazzed up with bourbon caramel sauce.


This post was originally published on January 17, 2012.
Pear and Fig Turnovers with Bourbon Caramel

We spent a couple of the last remaining hours of 2011 having a lovely dinner at B&O American Brasserie. Among the five courses we consumed were two that really inspired me to try a variation at home, one of which was a brown butter pear cake paired with figs and bacon.

The cake itself was just a rather plain yellow cake; the pear actually appeared to be within the jam-like accompaniment of caramelized dried figs sprinkled with bits of bacon. I thought the fig/pear/caramel combination was delicious and made a mental note to try it at home, with or without the bacon.

After a bit of thinking, I decided figsnpears would work nicely as a filling for tartlets, hand pies, or turnovers. Because I was already making a fairly complicated dinner the same night, I decided to forego the bacon, although it would have been a tasty addition.

Commercial puff pastry is always a breeze to use - just thaw, fill, and bake. The puffy little pies were terrific hot out of the oven and drizzled with a bit of the caramel sauce, but equally as good at room temperature with a scoop of butter pecan ice cream and more caramel.

Pear and Fig Turnovers with Bourbon Caramel

2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed
8 dried figs, quartered, stems removed
1 cup water
2 medium pears, skinned and diced
1 tablespoon butter
Bourbon Caramel Sauce
1 egg, beaten

In a small saucepan, bring figs and water to a boil. Turn down heat and simmer for 20 - 25 minutes, or until figs are tender, adding more water as necessary. Remove from heat and drain figs. Set aside.

Melt butter in a medium sauté pan. Add pears and cook over medium heat until tender. Add 2 tablespoons of the bourbon caramel sauce, stir in reserved figs, and cook an additional five minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Preheat oven to 400F.

Unfold one puff pastry sheet and use a rolling pin to flatten the seams and stretch the dough out a bit. Cut dough into six squares. Place a tablespoon of fig and pear filling in the center of each square (if some of the squares are rectangles, stretch the dough accordingly). Fold dough to form a triangle and seal edges with the tines of a fork. Place pies on a parchment-lined baking sheet and brush each with the beaten egg. Repeat with second pastry sheet.

Bake for 18 minutes. Serve with little ramekins of caramel sauce for dipping.

Bourbon Caramel Sauce

1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup half and half
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons bourbon

Place sugar and water in a saucepan and cook over medium-high heat until sugar has dissolved. Turn heat to high and bring sugar mixture to a boil. Cook without stirring until the syrup turns a medium amber and starts to smoke (but is not burning!). Remove pan from heat and add butter and cream. Stir in bourbon and vanilla. Pour into a clean glass pint jar and allow to cool. Store in the refrigerator.

Reheat caramel by placing a couple of spoonfuls into a microwave-safe ramekin and microwaving for 5-second increments until caramel is hot and bubbly. Remove carefully, as it will be very hot.

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