Dessert: Puff Pastry with Fruit

Sometimes an elegant dessert can perk up a simple meal. I love this dessert to use up berries in season. I made it up, so quantities are approximate, but it’s a forgiving recipe.

Puff pastry with cherries

Puff pastry with cherries

I also don’t mind if my recipes look a bit rustic, as long as they taste all right.

So here are the directions, along with what I would do differently next time.

Ingredients:

1 box puff pastry, frozen.
2 pounds cherries, or any berry in season.
1 orange, juiced and zested (zest optional)
1 cup sugar
2-3 tsp. corn- or rice starch

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

You can use any berry in season–blueberries, blackberries, even strawberries, but you’ll have to adjust the amount. Buy more, you can always eat fruit on cereral or with Greek Yogurt. (You can approximate Greek Yogurt by straining regular yogurt for 2 hours or so through several layers of cheesecloth placed in a strainer.)

Method:

Take one piece puff pastry from freezer and place flat on parchment.

Pastry tips--use a fine-tipped one.

Pastry tips--use a fine-tipped one.

Clean fruit. Pit cherries. An easy way to pit cherries it to place a pastry tip ont he counter and push the cherry, bottom first (stem up) over the pastry tip. Easy-peasy.

Take about half of the fruit, put it in a stainless steel pan, add enough filtered water to keep it from burning and put it over medium heat. Cover with lid. Keep an eye on it. Do not let that fruit burn! Cook for about 15 minutes.

Zest the orange, reserve the zest and then juice it. Save the juice.

Take one sheet of puff pastry. Roll it out on a piece of parchment or Silpat so it’s about a 9″ square. Trim off one-half inch on each side and place it back on top of the edge, not standing it up, just placing it on top so you have a raised edge.Transfer to a baking sheet or hotel pan.

Your fruit should now be simmering in its own juices. Remove the lid. Stir in the orange juice, zest and sugar. Reduce it for about 10 minutes. Taste. Add more sugar if you like it sweeter. Add the rest of the cherries and thicken the fruit with about 2 teaspoons of corn starch stirred into cold water. You need it thick enough to coat a spoon.

When the mix is ready, it will have whole cherries, cooked cherries, and a sauce that is thick enough to coat a spoon, but not so thick that a spoon will leave a mark that stays.

Using a slotted spoon, scoop the cherries out of the pan and onto the puff pastry. It should be evenly placed up to the edges, just covering all the pastry. Reserve the thickened sauce.

Bake the fruit-covered pastry for 20 minutes at 400 degrees F, or until it is golden brown. Do not let it get too dark.

When done, remove from oven, let cool (10 minutes), cut into pieces and top each piece with a generous spoonful of the sauce. Ice cream is optional. I recommend a honey-vanilla.

What I’d do differently: Rolling out the dough keeps the bottom from puffing. I like puff dough to puff. Next time I wouldn’t roll it out. Let it puff with cherries on it.

–Quinn McDonald is a writer and life- and creativity coach. See her work at QuinnCreative.com and raw-art-journals.com