Black Cherry Preserves with Pear and Fennel
Zest and juice of one lemon
1/4 cup Black cherry preserves
Store-bought puff pastry, frozen
1 fennel bulb
White pepper, pinch
Extra virgin olive oil (evoo)
Pre-heat oven to 275˚. In a medium sized mixing bowl, add lemon juice and zest to the preserves. Whisk till smooth. Set aside.
Wash and rinse the pears. Peel then core. Cut in half lengthwise. Using a sharp knife, or a mandolin, thinly shave the pears. Add the shaved pears to the whisked preserves and gently toss coating all the pear slices. Place the pear mixture in a colander. Set the colander over the mixing bowl and let macerate catching all the juices.
Take the puff pastry sheet and let thaw.
While the pastry is thawing, wash and clean the fennel bulb. Using only the thick bulb part of the fennel, cut in half lengthwise, then julienne. Put julienned fennel on a sheet tray and toss with a good pinch of white pepper, sprinkle of salt, and enough evoo to coat evenly.
Bake for 20 minutes or until fennel has cooked through. Will be soft and slightly colored, very fragrant.
While fennel is cooking cut out circular puff pastry disks. The size of the disks depends on how you want to serve. I use a large ramekin as a guide. Once you have the disks cut out, line a sheet tray with wax paper. On top of the paper spray with butter spray. Add disks to paper making sure they don’t touch.
Cut out another piece of wax paper of equal size. Spray one side of the paper with butter spray. Invert the paper, butter-side down, on top of the disks. On top of the paper goes the bottom side of another sheet tray. Basically, you should have your disks sandwiched between two sheet trays protected by the buttered paper. The whole idea is to keep the pastries from rising during cooking and to keep them from sticking to paper.
When finished, take the fennel out of the oven and set aside to cool. Turn oven heat up to 325˚
When up to temp place the sheet trays in the lower third rack of oven. Bake for 15 minutes. Disks will be flat, flaky, and golden brown in color. Carefully remove top sheet tray. The disks will stick to the paper. Carefully remove making sure not to destroy the disks. Set aside to cool.
For service, preheat oven to 325˚. Take a small amount of the pear mixture and mound on top of pastry disk. On top of the pear mixture add a smaller mound of the fennel. Place in oven for about 10-12 minutes. Just to heat through and slightly cook the pears. Drizzle some of the reserved pear juices over the pastry and dish. Garnish with some of the green, feathery tops of the fennel.