Oct 03

Rustic Pear Tarts with Blue Cheese + Onion Jam






Pears have the uncanny ability to go well with salty things like cheese and bacon … (mmm!) … and I wonder why that is. For as long as I can remember I have been a firm believer that fruits and savoury dishes should not be put on the same plate, but somehow the pear manages to be the one exception to that rule. I really don’t agree with having sweet fruit cooked in a savoury dish, which is why I never order the Hawaiian pizza. If I do have to be cordial and pander to what the rest of the table wants, then I will sit there and pick out every single pineapple before I will take a bite. Apricots and sultanas in hot rice dishes is another combo that doesn’t fly with me. In salads it is fine tho.


Today I wanted to put my pastry skills to the test. I am still figuring out my strengths and limitations in pastry work, so for this recipe I will be using store bought puff pastry dough. Coz before I am willing to invest my time and energy into making perfect laminated dough from scratch, I first wanted to play around with a few concepts and to practice working with the dough itself. It has been a fairly warm week so far so working with puff pastry in the kitchen with the oven on has been a challenge. It is best to work with pastries when they are cold so that they keep their shape and will cut with nice straight lines.


I must admit I am still a touch nervous when working with puff pastry because I have high expectations and when results are crap, I feel pretty crap as well. I have spent a lot of time building up my nerve to even attempt this kind of cooking; countless hours spent pouring over pastry books for tips and advice. “Technique is key” , they all seem to say and so here I am today, attempting to put all that literature into practice.


The choice of today’s tart recipe was an easy one to make … I had pears lying about the fruit basket and they needed to be used. But then I got to thinking … surely the pears needed to sit on something else, like a bed of flavour … and that’s how this onion jam idea came up. You can always use your favourite store bought onion jam / onion marmalade but I am on a learning curve here, I need to continue trying new things, so I made mine from scratch with the help of this recipe. At first glance the ingredient list did not sound like something I would ever consider combining in a single recipe, but then I figured long slow cooking always finds a way to change the flavour dimensions of food to make it completely mind blowing. Caution stifles discovery. So I soldiered on and followed the recipe.



Bacon Onion Jam



My first onion jam experience and it turned out pretty nice. The cumin seeds I added gave off a nice subtle hint of spice and it really complemented the flavours well … who knew?? Allow the jam to cool completely while you get going on the other components of the tart, starting with the pears. If the pears are soft then you can use them directly without poaching them first. Slice them anyway you see fit then leave them aside on a a plate.



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Thaw out the pastry sheet and cut them to suit the size of you pear slices. How you cut puff pastry is important; it can mean the difference between a perfectly risen pastry shell or total disaster. Never drag your knife through the pastry as this results in the crimping of the eges. If the edges are crimped then the layers will not puff up to their full potential or you will end up with lop-sided edges where one side rises and the other side stays flat. Using a pizza cutter is probably a good idea coz it cuts nice sharp edges without squashing the laminated layers together. Also, make sure you cut the pastry sheet when it is cold so that you reduce the risk of squashing the edges together.


Place each cut out sheet onto a baking tray and brush about a 1 cm border with egg wash. Cut out 1 cm strips of pastry and glue them to the egg washed area … this will create a lip once baked.


Fill each square with onion jam and top with your sliced pears and a few thyme leaves. Dot with blue cheese in and around the spaces. If you are not a fan of blue cheese then a nice creamy Brie or Camembert will do just as well with this recipe.


Brush the edges with more egg wash. Do this very neatly and carefully … do not drip egg down the sides of the pastry as the egg will cook and stick the edges together, resulting in uneven puffage. Hey, it’s called PUFF pastry for a reason … it’s all about the puffage and we should facilitate that as much as we can.



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Bake in a preheated 220ºC oven for 15 – 20 minutes until the sides are puffed and golden, and the cheese is all gooey. Remove from the oven, allow to cool slightly before serving with a nest of rocket leaves on top with a few crushed almonds or walnuts. Makes for a brilliant lite lunch or a late afternoon snack with a glass of crisp white wine. Whilst this recipe has been quite the success, I think I will still need to mess around with other puff pastry desserts before I will even consider making my own from scratch. In the spirit of playing with pastry I think my next challenge would be to make fresh breakfast Danish and Viennoiserie … I do love pastries with fruits and crème pâtissière. So watch this space for new pastry creations and hopefully I shall impress even myself in the process.



Pear Tart



Pear Tart with Blue Cheese & Onion Jam



But before I leave for today, I’d like to acknowledge and thank Carmen of Every Last Bite blog for the amazingly delicious bacon and onion jam I used in my pear tart recipe. It was the first time I have ever made onion jam (lots more room for improvement, but I will get there) … and thanks to her easy to follow recipe, I didn’t screw up on the first go. And with that, I bid you all a good day and happy cooking ahead!



~ Enjoy! ~





Permanent link to this article: http://foodflurries.com/savoury/rustic-pear-tarts-blue-cheese-onion-jam


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  1. Carmen

    Hi Vivienne, this tart looks delicious and your photos are beautiful! I’m so happy the jam worked with the tart, will have to give it a try

    1. bubviv

      Thanks for stopping by, Carmen. It’s the first time making onion jam for me and it’s been a blast.

  2. Kathy

    Vivienne…just looking over your recipe. The photos make these simple ingredients look like an elegant and delicious autumn afternoon nosh — exactly what I need for an upcoming get together. In regards to the “puff factor”…curious if you’ve attempted the recipe again — perhaps baking the shells apart from the other ingredients and assembling afterwards? Thank you for sharing this delightful dish.

    1. bubviv

      Hello Kathy and thanks for the kind compliments.
      This dish is actually very easy to put together and I have made it again (with different filling). Personally I simply avoid baking the shells on their own because I want the centers to be flat, whilst the edges puff up. Maybe if you pricked the base enough it will prevent “puffage” from happening. It would be a good idea to bake the shells ahead of time for your get together, coz that just makes things so much easier on the day. Do give it a try and see how you get on. I would definitely encourage a trial run first before the day. All the best!

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