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Little Purses with Pears and Ricotta
Fagottini Di Ricotta E Pere
1/4 cup sweet Marsala wine
1/3 cup golden raisins
1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
3 tablespoons sugar
2 (16 ounce) can pears packed in heavy syrup, drained and syrup reserved separately
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1 (17 ounce) package frozen puff pastry, thawed
2 tablespoons brandy
Whipped cream (optional)
Heat the Marasla wine in a small saucepan or in the microwave. Soak the raisins in the warm Marsala until plumped, about 15-30 minutes. Drain well and set aside. Discard the Marsala.
Stir together the ricotta, sugar and 1 of the eggs in a large bowl. Coarsely chop the pears and add to the ricotta along with the pine nuts and plumped raisins, mixing well.
Preheat the oven to 400 F. Place one of the sheets of puff pastry on a lightly floured cutting board and cut into thirds along the fold lines, then cut each of those pieces in half. Repeat this process with the second square of puff pastry. You wil have 12 pieces of puff pastry when you are finished. Roll each of the puff pastry pieces into a rectangle approximately 4 x 5 inches in size.
Place about 1/2 cup of the ricotta filling in the center of 6 of the puff pastry rectangles and brush the edges with water. Cover the filling with another piece of puff pastry and crimp the edges with a fork to seal. Repeat with the remaining 5 filled rectangles.
Mix the remaining egg with 1 teaspoon of water. Brush the tops of the pastries with the egg wash and place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool for at least 15 minutes. (The pastries can be made early in the day and refrigerated after they have cooled. Remove from the refrigerator 1 hour before serving to allow them to come to room temperature).
While the pastries are baking, put the reserved pear syrup in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce the heat to keep at a slow boil and reduce by half, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the brandy.
To serve, place a pastry on a serving plate and drizzle 1-2 tablespoons of the pear-brandy syrup over it. If you're like me, you won't be able to resist a spoonful of whipped cream on top.
Stir 1-2 tablespoons of butter into the reduced sauce to make it thicker and give it a shinier finish.
©2015 Nick Stellino Productions