Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Warm Pear Tart with Cheese & Honey

I've had Tyler Florence's "Eat This Book" cookbook decorating my desk for the past several months. I'm embarrassed to admit that it may have even been closer to a year. It was a glorified bookend. Actually, my desk is littered with various packages of gum and candy, so I can't even give this cookbook the distinction of having been a bookend.

I've been mistreating this poor cookbook for way too long. I finally laid down the law with myself and made it a requirement to make a recipe out of it. I settled on the Warm Pear Tart with Blue Cheese and Honey. What can I say? I'm a sucker for that salty/sweet combination.

After checking out the refrigerator, I quickly realized that I already had 3 different types of cheeses in there. This made me reluctant to purchase the blue cheese for this tart. And unfortunately, none of the cheeses I already had would be a good substitute. I wanted something that I would definitely use up in a reasonable amount of time. Once in the grocery store, I decided to purchase a soft ripened cheese, very similar to a Brie or Camembert. I could always wolf that down with some bread, crackers, or by itself.

Now. I love Tyler Florence. He was one of the first Food Network chefs I remember from when the network first started out. But I have to question the proportions in his original recipe. I ended up adjusting the proportions of this tart to suit one roll of puffed pastry. (The puffed pastry usually comes in a box with two rolls of pastry. I used just one of them in this recipe.) I only needed one pear and a few ounces of almonds and cheese. This is a much smaller quantity of ingredients than the original recipe calls for. I guess the Food Network chefs go big! But for my tastes, I think I can handle a scaled-down version.

Warm Pear Tart with Cheese & Honey
adapted from Tyler Florence's Eat This Book Cookbook
yields ~ 6 servings

Print Recipe
  • 1 sheet frozen puffed pastry
  • 1/2 cup blanched almonds
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 Bosc pear, sliced lengthwise (I prefer to remove the seeds, but you don't have to if you don't want to)
  • Honey
  • 5 ounces soft ripened cheese, sliced
  • 1 egg white, beater with a drizzle of water for glazing
1) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2) Spray a sheet pan with cooking spray. Place the puffed pastry on the pan.

3) Using the tip of a knife, score the edges of the pastry, about an inch from the edges.

4) Use a fork to poke holes in the pastry inside the scored border.

5) Combine the almonds, sugar, and water in a food processor. Grind to a paste. If the mixture is too crumbly, add a few more drops of water.

6) Spread the almond paste over the inside of the scored pastry.

7) Place the cheese over the almond paste.

8) Arrange the sliced pears over the cheese.

9) Drizzle with honey, to taste.

10) Brush the border of the pastry with the egg white glaze.

11) Bake for ~15 minutes, until the pastry is golden and brown. Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before slicing and eating.

This recipe was a winner. I might have had several slices in one night. OK, of course I did. Would you expect anything less? The pastry was crisp and buttery, the cheese and almonds provided the "salty" and the sugar, honey and pears provided the "sweet". The pears were still pretty crispy after their excursion in the oven, which was a pleasant surprise. It made me feel like I was eating something healthy! Just maybe.

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