Gingered Pears in Phyllo Cups


For the phyllo cups:
6 (13-by-17-inch) phyllo sheets
6 tablespoons unsalted butter (3/4 stick), melted

For the pears:
1 pound Bartlett or Anjou pears (about 2 medium)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons finely chopped candied or crystallized ginger
1/8 teaspoon fine salt
1/3 cup walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped

For the cream:
3/4 cup very cold heavy cream
2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream


For the phyllo cups:

Heat the oven to 425°F and arrange a rack in the middle.

Arrange a sheet of phyllo on a large cutting board (be sure to cover the remaining phyllo sheets with a slightly damp paper towel or plastic wrap) and brush the top with melted butter.Arrange another sheet on top of the first sheet and repeat, alternating butter and phyllo, until there are 6 layers. Brush the top layer with butter.

Using a sharp knife, cut the phyllo into 12 approximately 4-by-4-inch squares.Fit 1 square snugly into each well of a 12-well muffin pan, gently pressing the phyllo into the bottom and up the sides of each well.

Bake until the dough is lightly browned and crispy, about 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and let it cool on a wire rack. When the cups are cool, remove them from the pan and set aside. The cups can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

For the pears:

Peel, halve, and core the pears. Cut into medium dice (you should have about 2 cups) and set aside.

Melt the butter in a medium frying pan over medium heat until foaming. Sprinkle the brown sugar over top and cook until the mixture is bubbling and the sugar has dissolved, about 3 minutes.

Add the reserved pears, ginger, and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is caramelized and the pears have just begun to release their juices and are softened, about 3 to 5 minutes. (The sugar may seize—or become lumpy—at first, but it will redistribute itself.)
Stir in the walnuts and set aside.

For the cream:

Place the cream, brown sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl and whisk vigorously until stiff peaks form, about 5 minutes. Add the sour cream and whisk until just incorporated.
To serve, divide the gingered pears and their juices among the phyllo cups and top with the whipped cream. Serve immediately.

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