Thursday, October 04, 2007
It's Your Call: A Blue Cheese and Pear Tart
I really wanted to save this post for Christmas, as it'd be perfect for the festive season, but wasn't able to. You see, some of you saw the photos in my Flickr stream, and started asking for it, persistently. Being a kind person as I am, I decided that it'd be unfair to let you wait for another 3 months before sharing the recipe..
Few years ago an Estonian cookery programme Kaunimaks köögis (channel TV3) featured a recipe for a pear and blue cheese tart. I hadn't seen the programme, but a friend of mine did, liked what see saw, tried the tart at home and sent me the recipe. I waited a few years until I had some lovely pears, excellent blue cheese, and some good puff pastry in hand. After couple of inevitable adaptations (puff pastry for shortcrust one, 'slashed' pears* for cubed ones, almonds for hazelnuts etc) I came up with this version and made this early last month. And, oh my, it was absolutely delicious, and versatile. It's a wonderful mixture of subtle sweet and savoury flavours that would be just as perfect as a starter before a fancy main course, or as a dessert after one. It would be an excellent accompaniment to a glass or two of white wine (forget about cheese & grapes!), or a cup of coffee or tea. It's your call where and when to serve it. Just excellent. And furthermore - due to the mix of spices in the filling, it would be perfect, absolutely perfect, for the forthcoming Christmas season. I will be definitely making it again.
I used the very excellent Finnish blue cheese - Valio Aura Gold - that has been ripened for 12 weeks. It's strong, but rounded and yet mellow. If that's not available to you, then try some mellow blue cheese instead. Think Gorgonzola or Danish Blue rather than Stilton or Roquefort here..
Blue Cheese and Pear Tart
250 grams puff (Danish) pastry
4 large pears, peeled, halved and cored
50 grams slices almonds
100 grams Aura Gold blue cheese, cut into small chunks
300 ml single cream
2 free-range eggs**
1 tsp of gingerbread seasoning***
Roll out the puff pastry into a circle and line a 22-25 cm pie dish with it. Cover with a parchment paper and ceramic baking beans, and blind-bake at 200C for 15 minutes.
Cut the pear halves cross-wise almost through, place nicely on a pre-baked crust.
Place cheese chunks between the pear slices. Tuck almond slices between the pear slices.
Whisk the cream, eggs and spices together, pour over the pears and cheese.
Bake at 180-200C for another 25 minutes, until the egg mixture has set and the pears are cooked.
Cool before serving.
Tuck in and enjoy!!!
* I first saw slashed/sliced pears in a tart on the display shelf of Cafe Peterson here in Tallinn, and thought that'd be much nicer than cubing the pears.
** The eggs are from these happy chicken, which explains the bright yellow colour of the filling.
*** Estonian gingerbread seasoning contains cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, nutmeg and cloves. Feel free to use mixed spice (coriander, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, nutmeg, ginger) or pumpkin spice (cinnamon, ginger, allspice, nutmeg) instead. Or, if you prefer, just take a pinch of this and a pinch of that :)
Jõulud kodus ("Christmas at Home"), published in Estonian in November 2011.