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A delightful holiday or any occasion dessert that is exotic and tasty with those warm pears and the pomegranate seeds (full of antioxidants!).
- 6 ripe pears
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3⁄4 cup dark brown sugar
- 1⁄2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1⁄4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1⁄8 teaspoon allspice
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 cup pomegranate seeds (1 large pomegranate)
- 8 sheets frozen phyllo dough
- 1 1⁄4 cups butter, melted
- powdered sugar
- green colored crystal sugar
- red colored crystal sugar
- 1 package red cake decorating gel
- To make filling: Peel, core, and dice pears.
- Place large, heavy saucepan over high heat until very hot.
- Melt butter and add pears.
- Cook 2 minutes more and stir again.
- Sprinkle brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and salt over pears.
- Allow sugar to melt, stirring occasionally.
- Bring mixture to boil, then remove from heat.
- Strain liquid from pears.
- Cook liquid over medium-high heat, stirring often, until volume is reduced to about 1/2 cup (will have very syrupy consistency).
- Return pears to saucepan, stir to blend, stir in pomegranate seeds.
- Cool completely.
- Filling can be made up to 1 week ahead and stored in the refrigerator until needed.
- To make pastry: Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Place 1 sheet phyllo on dry, flat surface.
- Brush with melted butter, top with next sheet, repeat with a total of 4 sheets.
- Return remaining sheets to refrigerator, wrapped in plastic.
- Cut pastry in quarters.
- Work with 1/4 at a time, leaving others under slightly damp cloth.
- Place 1/3 cup filling in center of pastry and form into a square.
- Wrap like a package, folding in sides and brushing with melted butter to secure.
- Place seam side down on heavy aluminum cookie sheet, brush liberally with butter, and cover with plastic wrap.
- Continue making packages until you have used all filling.
- Packages can be assembled a day ahead; brush with butter, wrap with plastic wrap, and refrigerate.
- Bake in preheated oven 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Cool to room temperature.
- Garnish: Transfer to work surface.
- Dust each package with powered sugar and decorate with gel to resemble a present.
- Sprinkle serving plate lightly with colored sugars, then top with decorated package.
- Makes 8 to 10 servings.