So yesterday I ventured over to do some cooking with the woman who has been instrumental in developing my own interest in cooking and healthy living: my original nutritional gatekeeper – yes, for those who guessed it – my mom! (sorry dad!). Growing up and even through entering young adulthood, I’ve learned about the importance of and techniques for healthy cooking, but this has also been balanced by her unwavering passion for (which I’ve also developed) all things baking: cupcakes, cakes, cookies, tarts, anything chocolate; you name it!
So today, we’ll take a look at a recipe that she created that we’ll call Pear and Blue Cheese Tart with Caramelized-Onion.
But first, here’s a sneak peak of a recipe to be featured later on:
Earlier in the day, she had whipped up a batch of healthified Martha Stewart (I think Martha might benefit from reading this blog based on the amount of butter and sugar these called for…) Apple and Oatmeal scones. However, these were simply the test batch, as she accidentally forgot to add any sugar! I still thought they were pretty good (and the sous chef isn’t complaining either).
But back to the first recipe. This savory tart is very versatile, in that it can be customized to whatever toppings you like or have on hand. Other ideas for toppings include asparagus, peppers, and a variety of cheeses. Its great to serve as an appetizer, or side to a main meal. We do admit that it isn’t the healthiest recipe out there, but trust us, its worth it! It could also be modified to up the nutrition stats (using whole-wheat flat-bread, light cheese, etc).
1 package frozen puff pastry; thawed (mom swears by Presidents Choice brand as it comes pre-rolled)
1.5 tbsp olive oil
1/8 tsp salt
1 red onion, sliced
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1-2 tbsp pine nuts
1/2 cup swiss cheese, grated
1 1/2 large Bosc pears, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp honey
1/2 cup blue cheese, crumbled
To start, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Heat up a pan on medium heat with 1 tbsp olive oil, and add the sliced onion. Then sprinkle the salt and sugar over the onion, and cook while stirring periodically, until the onion is caramelized, approx 10-15 minutes. Stir in balsamic vinegar and remove from heat.
While the onion is cooling, roll out the pastry onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. The pastry does need to be rolled a bit with a rolling pin to make it thinner and fit to the pan (10 by 14″).
You can see Max, the resident cooking cat, looks on with his approval.
In a small bowl, beat egg with 1 tbsp water and then using a pastry brush, lightly brush the pastry with this mixture to seal it (you will not use all the egg mixture). Then evenly spread over the caramelized onions, grated swiss cheese, and pine nuts.
Next, thinly slice the pears and lightly coat them with a mixture of 1/2 tbsp olive oil and 1/2 tsp honey.
Then, assemble them on the tart, add a sprinkle of ground pepper, and they’re ready for 30 minutes in the oven!
Once out of oven, immediately crumble the blue cheese over the pears and allow it to melt for several minutes before serving. Cut into sizes/shapes of your preference. It can be served, hot, warm, or cold.
This tart was phenomenal! The crust was light and flaky, and the complimenting flavours of the blue cheese, pears, onions and pine nuts were perfect! This certainly isn’t your everyday dish, but for a special occasion or to wow your friends at the next dinner party, try this out!
Cooking Baking adventures part 2 later this weekend!