Baked Almond-stuffed Pear with Vanilla Sauce and Fresh Strawberries - Sweden

Happy International Women’s Day to all the wonderful women I have the pleasure of knowing!!! This is a day I did not have the opportunity to really appreciate until I moved to Russia, where March 8th is celebrated every year. It was so sweet when every year the boys in my class would save up money to buy each of the girls a bouquet of flowers. It felt so wonderful to be appreciated. This year I am dedicating an especially delicious dessert to Women’s Day: Baked Almond-Stuffed Pear. Like many of the women I know this dessert is interesting, delightfully complex and bursting with flavor. Just when you think you have figured it out, you open it up and inside awaits another surprise. Happy International Women’s Day Ladies!!!

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 40 minutes

Total time: 55 minutes

Ingredients (serves 4)

Pears

1 cup whole wheat flour

½ cup butter, chilled

¼ cup brown sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

¼ cup water, chilled

4 large pears, washed, peeled and cored

Filling

¼ cup almonds, ground

1 tablespoon sugar

Topping – Vanilla sauce

½ cup water

2 tablespoons sugar

2 teaspoons corn starch

1 tablespoon butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pinch of salt

Optional ingredients

1 cup fresh strawberries

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C.

2. Place the flour, butter, sugar and salt in a large bowl and mix with your hands until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

3. Add the water and continue kneading until you get a nice smooth dough.

4. Place the dough on a lightly floured board and allow to rest for about 15 minutes, you can also place the dough in the fridge.

5. While the dough is resting, mix the sugar and almonds for the filling together and fill the center of the pears with it.

6. Divide the dough into 4 parts, then roll out each part until it is large enough to cover the pears.

7. Cover each pair in a part of the dough.

8. Place on an oven tray and bake for about 40 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown.

9. Place a medium saucepan over high heat and bring the water to a boil; mix the sugar and corn starch together and add to the water. Reduce the heat to medium.

10. Cook until mixture for about 4–5 minutes or until it thickens, then add the butter, vanilla extract and salt. Remove from heat.

Serving suggestions: Serve the warm pears with drizzles of vanilla sauce and fresh strawberries (optional) on the side.

Tip: This delicious dessert also goes delightfully with vanilla ice cream.

Fun facts: Sweden has a wide array of delicious cakes and pastries. There is even a special term for enjoying a cake/pastry and coffee: Fika. We have enjoyed many Fikas in the quaint cafés and pastry shops of Old Town (Gamla Stan) in Stockholm

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