This tart is wonderful to serve as an appetizer at holiday parties. All of the components can be made separately in advance. Right before guests arrive you can build the tart and heat it briefly for a no hassle treat that is delicious and very impressive. It will also travel well.
This recipe will make 6 4-inch round tarts. I recommend using shells such as these with removable bottoms.
- If using a tart shell, as with the above recipe, you’ll want to add uncooked beans over parchment paper for approximately the first 2/3 of the cooking time. This prevents the dough from rising due to air bubbles forming in the crust. For extra insurance, use a fork to gently press a few holes into the bottom of the shell before baking This is known as docking.
- You’ll notice that the dough is coming up over the edges of the tart shell. I do this as an extra precaution against shrinkage.
- For this particular tart, I recommend cooking the shell at 375 for 15-20 minutes with the beans, then carefully removing them and cooking for an additional 5 minutes at 400 degrees. That’s what worked with my oven. You may need to tweak things a bit. It’s a finicky dough, but the results are wonderful.
- Caramelized pears. Cook them on a medium-high heat, tossing periodically when they start to brown. If you don’t use high heat they won’t hold their shape as well. Scrape the brown bits that develop on the sides and bottom of the pan to incorporate them into the pears and prevent them from burning. I had to chop these smaller before they would fit into the shells but I wanted them to let them cook first.
Savory Pear and Blue Cheese Tart
- pâte brisée (see recipe below)
- roquefort cheese
- goat cheese
- brie (Camembert is a good option, but any creamy brie will work(
- heavy cream
- 6 bosc pears - not too ripe or they'll fall apart
- walnuts, toasted and chopped
- unsalted butter
- Roll pâte brisée into tart shells and blind bake. Mine took about 20 minutes at 400 degrees but it will depend on the size of your shells and your oven (see tips below).
- Remove any rinds from cheese.
- Crumble and add to food processor, blend until just combined. Add cream, don't over-mix (cheese can curdle). You're looking for a spreadable cheese consistency with a soft blue cheese flavor. I'd recommend you start by adding 2 parts blue cheese, 1 part goat, 1 part brie and a good splash of heavy cream. Adjust to taste.
- Peel pears, chop.
- Add whole butter to a sautoir or saute pan. Get the pan nice and hot.
- Cook pears in butter, caramelizing them.
- Drain pears, add a bit of pepper (no salt).
- Add pears to tart shell with some walnut crumbles.
- Add cheese, spread with a small offset spatula.
- Add to 250 oven until cheese is warm and spreads.
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