We’re in seasonal limbo right now. Actually, we’re solidly in spring territory, but our weather is leaping forward to summer. What does this mean for food? Well, we’re drinking rieslings, eating dinner outside, seeking out deals on the first asparagus, and, um, munching on pears.
You see, most of the early summer fruits and vegetables in my area are a few weeks away. Strawberries? Yeah, but they’re from California. Endive, blueberries, and snow peas? Not even on the horizon yet. The reality right now involves kale, the occasional bunch of early radishes, and pears.
I’ve been making versions of this Pear and Blue Cheese Tart ever since I tore the recipe out of a 2010 Sunset Magazine, and it never lets me down. It looks fancy, tastes like a cheese course turned into a treat, and is pretty darn easy. The best part is that this tart doesn’t scream “winter” even though these are definitely not springy ingredients. It is just as at home with a glass of white wine on the patio as it was with a cocktail at the New Year’s Eve party.
Pear and Blue Cheese Tart (adapted from Sunset Magazine)
Yield: 8 generous appetizer-sized rectangles (cut them smaller if you want)
Note: I find my puff pastry browns waaaay quicker than the original recipe, so I’m sharing my cooking times below. If you have a different experience, you may need to bake it longer.
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/2 onion, sliced
1 sheet thawed frozen puff pastry (I prefer Trader Joe’s, though my local store says it is a “seasonal” item)
1 large egg
1/2 cup of your favorite blue cheese (I usually use whatever is on sale), room temperature
1 ripe pear, thinly sliced
1-2 Tablespoons fresh thyme, minced
1 Tablespoon honey, optional
Preheat the oven to 425°.
Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion to the skillet and sauté until it is soft and lightly browned. Remove from heat and set aside.
On a lightly floured surface, roll the puff pastry only side to side (in two directions) to elongate the sheet into a rectangle. Don’t do too much–a little is enough. Prick the puff pastry with a fork. Transfer the puff pastry sheet to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silpat. Bake the pastry for 5 minutes.
Use a fork to whisk the egg and blue cheese until fairly smooth. Spread the mixture over the surface of the puff pastry. Scatter the browned onions over the cheese mixture, then arrange the pear slices over the top. Sprinkle the thyme evenly over the pears, then drizzle with the honey if you’re using it.
Bake the tart until the egg mixture is set and the puff pastry is golden but not burned, about 10-12 minutes. Cut the pastry into rectangles to serve (I like to use my kitchen shears for this).