Pear and marzian tartlets
1.Combine sugar, the water, syrup and scraped vanilla bean in medium saucepan. Stir over high heat, without boiling, until sugar is dissolved. Bring to the boil, reduce heat, simmer.
2.Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F.
3.Peel pears, add to simmering syrup mixture; simmer, uncovered, about 15 minutes or until pears are barely tender. Remove from heat; cool to room temperature. Drain pears; reserve ½ cup poaching liquid for the maple vanilla syrup.
4.Meanwhile, to make the marzipan, sift icing sugar and ground almonds into small bowl, add egg white. Use fork to combine ingredients. Press together to make a smooth ball.
5.Using 8cm (3¼-inch) round cutter, cut 24 rounds from pastry sheets. Place 12 rounds onto baking-paper-lined oven trays. Using 5cm (2-inch) round cutter, cut holes in centres of remaining 12 pastry rounds. Brush rounds on trays with egg white; top with pastry rings. Brush rings with more egg white.
6.Roll marzipan out on surface lightly dusted with icing sugar to 5mm (¼-inch) thickness. Using 4.5cm (1¾-inch) round cutter, cut 12 rounds from marzipan. Place rounds inside rings of pastry.
7.Top marzipan with pears, pushing down gently. Bake about 20 minutes or until pastry is golden brown.
8.Meanwhile, make maple vanilla syrup by combining reserved poaching liquid, sugar and syrup in small saucepan; stir over high heat until sugar is dissolved. Bring to the boil; reduce heat, simmer about 10 minutes.; pour hot syrup over hot tartlets. Cool, before serving with cream, if you like.
We used Paradise pears. Corella pears are also good. These tarts are best made on the day of serving.Note