Sitting here on pillows of puff pastry with a light dusting of icing sugar, poached pears make for the perfect autumn dessert.
Peel pears and rub surface with cut side of lemon. Place sugar in a saucepan with 2 cups water, and vanilla pod and seeds. Stir over low heat to dissolve sugar, then add pears, bring to a simmer and poach for 6-8 minutes or until just softened (time will depend on ripeness of pears). Remove and cool slightly.
Preheat the oven to 180°C and the grill to high. Line a large baking tray with baking paper.
Halve pears lengthways and remove cores, leaving stalks attached. Cut lengthways slices in each half almost to the top, leaving narrow end intact to keep shape. Use your palm to gently flatten pear halves and fan out the slices.
Cut pastry into 12 circles slightly larger than the pears and lay circles on the tray. Place a slice of marzipan in the centre of each circle and top with a pear. Lightly score pastry around the edge of the pears, not cutting completely through, then brush pastry with egg. Bake for 20-25 minutes until puffed.
Remove tray from oven and dust tartlets with icing sugar, then place under the grill for 1-2 minutes until tinged golden. Place on a platter decorated with seasonal leaves. Serve 2 tartlets per person with thick cream.
Thank you Taste: www.taste.com.au/recipes/5191/little+pear+tartlets