This tart is really all about the pears, and an avenue for them to ride on. Even though I used fresh pears to finish off the tart after baking it, this tart still had a very earthy taste from the balsamic caramelized onions and the creamy Asiago cheese, plus a wonderful sweetness from the red Anjou pear that I placed across the top.
I was wondering what I could make with pears that had that earthy warm feeling that we get from fall food, when a pear tart came to mind. Not just a pear tart though. This had to be an avenue for the pears to ride on that would complement the balsamic caramelized onions, cheese, and the pears. So, an out of the ordinary cheese might do the trick. From there, I went to the cheese store and stood in line sampling one cheese after another until I found this delicious Asiago cheese that I thought would work well with the other ingredients.
It was the creaminess of the Asiago cheese that won me over. And, I was right. After I baked the grated Asiago cheese and caramelized onions on puff pastry and THEN added the fresh pears and more fresh thyme, I was completely satisfied with the finished tart.
This tart is very easy to make. You can use your own recipe for puff pastry or do what I did and buy a good brand in the frozen food section of the store. If you want to use a pear other than a red Anjou, then please use what you have. It will taste good. After all, this is all about pears and we are all growing different varieties.
I photographed the finished product and my husband ate 3 of the 4 servings for lunch. So, I guess he liked it! I hope that you will too. Do remember that the cheese and pears are interchangeable to those that are your preference. Enjoy and hope that fall arrives soon, so we can cool off.
½ tablespoon butter
½ tablespoon mild olive oil
2 ½ cups thinly sliced red onion
3 sprigs of fresh thyme
½ tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat the olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium high heat until sizzling. Add the onions, thyme sprigs, and salt to taste. Turn the heat down to medium, and cook, stirring often, until onions are golden brown. Add balsamic vinegar and cook for another minute; add pepper to taste. Remove from heat, take out the thyme stems, and set the onions aside.
Pre-heat the oven to 400º
½ of (17.3 ounce) package frozen puff pastry thawed in the fridge
On a floured board, roll the puff pastry until it is about 10” x 10.” Place the pastry on a parchment lined baking sheet and put back in the fridge until ready to use.
Putting it together:
1 teaspoon Country Dijon mustard
1 ¼ cups grated Asiago cheese
Fresh red Anjou pear
1-2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
Remove the prepared puff pastry from the fridge. Brush the mustard onto the bottom of the tart, to within 1/2 inch of the sides. Sprinkle the grated Asiago over the mustard. Add the caramelized onions over the cheese. Bake for 20-22 minutes depending on your oven. When ready, slightly lift the bottom of the tart to make sure that it is lightly browned and not soggy.
While the tart is cooking, slice the pear very thin and pour the orange juice over the pear to keep it from turning brown. Drain.
Remove the tart from the oven and place as many pear slices as you would like on the tart. If you have pear slices leftover, save for another use. Add a small amount of sea salt and freshly ground pepper to the top of the tart before serving.
By Ron Harrison, Ph.D., Entomologist and Orkin Technical Services Director
Photographs courtesy of Orkin
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