Saturday, November 17, 2012

Warm Pear featured on today's Good Food on KCRW

Warm Pear Charlotte
Our Pear Charlotte is the perfect fall dessert
Warm charlottes are a lot different than their cold or frozen cousins. This warm charlotte consists of a delicious pear filling encased in a buttered shell of sweet bread. The texture of the toasty bread along with the lightly sweetened pears makes an understated yet incredibly satisfying fall dessert. For those of us who are not up to the challenge of rolling and crimping pie shells this holiday season, a warm charlotte is a great alternative. 

Serves 8 to 10 guests


For the pear filling:
8 to 10 large pears, peeled, cored and quartered
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean, split and scrapped

To assemble the charlotte:
1 ½ to 2 pounds sweet bread such as brioche, challah or Hawaiian bread
8 ounces unsalted butter
¼ cup sugar

1.    Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 300ºF.
2.    To make the pear filling: Toss the pears with the ½ cup of sugar and the vanilla bean –pulp and pod- in a mixing bowl. Transfer to a baking dish, wrap with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Then, remove the foil and bake for another 15 minutes. Let cool completely. Turn the oven up to 350ºF.
3.    While the pears are roasting, prepare the mold. You may use a 1½-quart soufflé dish or an 8-inch cake pan that is at least 3 inches deep. Melt the butter and brush the dish or pan generously. For easy release, cut two bands about 1-inch wide and 16” long out of parchment paper and press them on the mold forming an X.
4.    Now that the mold is ready, cut the bread into slices about ½-inch thick. You should end up with approximately 20 slices. To line the sides of the mold you are going to need to cut 10 tiles 2-inches wide by 3-inches long out of the sliced bread. Make sure to trim the crust off as you cut the tiles. To make the top and bottom layers, trim the crust off 10 slices of bread and then cut the resulting rectangle into 2 triangles. Now that all your bread parts are cut, line them on a cookie tray. Dip the front side of each and every piece of bread in the melted butter and place them back on the cookie tray buttered side up. Drizzle the remaining ¼ cup of sugar over the buttered bread.
5.    To assemble the charlotte: arrange 10 of the prepared triangles buttered side down on the mold, making sure to cover the entire surface. You may cut the bread pieces into smaller triangles to make them fit into any tricky spaces. Try to use all 10 triangles -the bread should fit snuggly covering the entire bottom of the mold. Next, line the 10 tiles against the sides of the mold –buttered side should be the one touching the mold. Once again, try to use all 10 pieces. Fill the charlotte with the pear filling all the way to the top. Finally, cover the charlotte with the remaining buttered triangles. This time the buttered side should be looking up. Just like before, try to use all the bread pieces and make sure that the entire surface is covered.
6.    Bake the charlotte for 30 minutes or until the top layer turns deep golden. Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes.
7.    To remove from the mold, place a cake plate over the mold. Assertively invert and tap gently to help the charlotte release from the mold. Serve while still warm with a side of fresh cream. Note: Charlotte can be baked a few hours in advance and reheated in a 350ºF oven for 10 minutes right before serving. Enjoy!