With autumn's surplus of pears, why not make a dessert tart to go with last week's savory pear quiche? This tart, also adapted from The American Boulangerie by Pascal Rigo, uses a creamy goat cheese such as Boucheron to create a tart filling akin to cheesecake. The gamey cheese pairs fantastically with pear. The tart's sweetness is mild, making it appropriate even for breakfast.
- 4 ounces firmly packed goat cheese, room temperature
- 6 ounces firmly packed cream cheese, room temperature
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons heavy whipping cream
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
- 1 extra-large egg yolk
- 1 extra-large egg white
- 4 teaspoons sugar
- 1 Anjou pear, quartered, cored, and thinly sliced, spritzed with fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup fresh blueberries or huckleberries
- 1 shallow 9-inch Páte Sucrée tart shell, pre-baked and cooled (recipe below)
- Caramel Syrup (optional; recipe below)
- 4 1/2 ounces (9 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons powdered sugar, sifted
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
- 2 extra-large eggs, well beaten
- 9-inch diameter shallow tart pan with 1-inch sides and removable bottom
- parchment paper
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup boiling water
- 1/8 cup fresh lemon juice, strained
Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the goat cheese and cream cheese on medium speed until smooth and free of lumps.
Add 1/4 cup of sugar and beat on medium speed until combined, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
Reduce the speed to low and add the heavy cream, vanilla, and orange zest; mix until combined. Increase the speed to medium and continue to mix for 1 minute, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl a few more times.
Add the egg yolk and beat until the yolk is completely incorporated.
In a clean mixer bowl and using the whisk attachment, whip the egg white on medium speed until foamy.
Increase the speed to high and gradually add the 4 teaspoons of sugar. Continue to whip to stiff peaks—the whites should be firm and shiny.
Using a large spatula, gently fold the whipped egg white into the cheese mixture.
Transfer the mixture into the tart shell, and using a flexible spatula, spread the filling over the bottom as evenly as possible.
Place the pear slices around the edge of the tart in a radial pattern. Place blueberries between the pear slices and decorate the center of the tart with the remaining blueberries.
Bake for 25 minutes—until the surface of the tart looks dry and the filling is slightly puffed.
Cool the tart completely on a wire rack before removing it from the tart pan. Allow the tart to set in the fridge before serving. Drizzle with caramel syrup, slice into wedges, and serve. (The tart is best the day it is baked but can be covered and refrigerated up to 2 days.)
- makes two 9-inch tart shells -
This dough is dense and buttery, similar to shortbread. It can also be used to make very nice sable-style cookies. Because of the butter and powdered sugar, the softness of the dough can make it tricky to handle (but then, this is what makes the end result so rich and flavorful). Take care not to overwork the dough or it will toughen and shrink in the pan when baked.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter, powdered sugar, and salt on low speed.
Gradually add the flour and mix until a sandy texture forms.
Add the eggs in a steady stream and mix until a smooth dough forms.
Divide the dough into evenly shaped balls. Between two sheets of parchment, flatten the dough ball into a disk about 1/2-inch thick. Repeat with the other dough ball.
Refrigerate disks until firm, or for at least 30 minutes. (If you are only making one tart, the extra dough may be refrigerated up to 3 days or frozen up to 1 month.)
Lightly butter tart pan. Keep dough disk sandwiched between sheets of parchment paper and use a rolling pin to flatten it into a circle roughly 12 1/2 inches in diameter and 1/4-inch thick.
Remove the top sheet of parchment, flip the dough over, and ease it into the prepared tart pan. Remove the other sheet of parchment and press the dough gently into the edges of the pan.
Wrap the tart pan tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Bake tart shell for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Set aside.
This is essentially an invert sugar syrup caramelized to give the tart a little body and coloration.
Place the sugar in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. After 2 to 3 minutes, the sugar will start to melt and caramelize.
Stir. Let the mixture bubble for 1 minute until it turns darker brown.
Remove from heat and carefully add boiling water by pouring it in along the sides of the pan (the hot combination will sputter). Stir, add the lemon juice, and stir again. Set aside. (Store any unused syrup in a tightly lidded jar unrefrigerated.)