Spring is in the air and it is the perfect season for baking with fresh herbs and floral-fruity flavours. This pear and goat’s cheese tart has it all: creamy, richness and tartness from the goat’s cheese, juiciness from the pears, nuttiness from the cheddar, and sweet tangy notes from the rosehip spread. This tart is honestly so delicious, and even better when topped with a piece of Prosciutto and a dollop of fig relish.
For the pastry
225 grams (~25 Tbs) of all purpose flour
100 grams (~7 Tbs) of butter, cold and cut into cubes
1 egg, beaten, plus extra for brushing
2 Tbs ice cold water
Pinch of salt
For the filling:
2 large red Bartlett pears (recommended)
150 grams crumbled Goats Cheese
50 grams white cheddar*, broken into pieces
Few sprigs of fresh thyme
Fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper to season
1 Tbs Dalmatia Rosehip Spread
1 tsp of Dalmatia Quince Spread
2 Tbs butter, melted
Fig Spread (you can substitute this with your favourite fruit relish)
*Tip: Choose a cheddar that has a subtle nutty flavour and is slightly crunchy to the bite, and crumbly in texture. For this recipe I am using local Beecher’s Flagship Cheddar which is a cross between Cheddar and Swiss.
Method for making the pastry by hand:
Combine flour and salt in a bowl, and mix with a fork.
Add the cold cubes of butter to the flour mixture and using a pastry blender cut the butter into the flour, or using the tips of your fingers, rub the butter into the flour, until the butter resembles small peas.
Stir in the beaten egg and the ice water to form a soft dough.
Turn the pasty out onto a clean surface and knead well. Form into a disc. Lightly dust the pastry dough with flour and wrap tightly with Saran Wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour.
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Remove the pastry from the fridge, chill for 15-20 minutes.
Generously flour a clean cold surface and using a rolling pin, gently roll out the pastry dough to about 4-5 mm thick.
Roll the pasty to line a 9” loose-bottomed tart tin; gently press the pastry into the tin and into the creases.
Prick the pastry base with a fork. Brush the base and the sides with beaten eggs. Chill in the refrigerator for 15-30 minutes.
When ready to bake, remove from the fridge and cut away the overhanging pastry.
Cover the pastry with parchment paper and fill the base with dry lentils, beans or rice (or baking beads if you have them).
Blind bake for 10 minutes, then remove the dry lentils, beans or rice and parchment paper and return to the oven for another 5 minutes.
Remove the pastry from the oven.
While the pastry is cooling, cut the pears into thin slices.
When the pastry has cooled slightly, drop a generous tablespoon of the Dalmatia Rosehip Spread into the centre of the tart and spread out to completely cover the base of the pastry.
Then sprinkle over the crumbled goat cheese. Next scatter the shards or Beecher’s or sharp white cheese over the crumbled goat cheese.
Season with freshly ground pepper and a pinch of salt. Sprinkle over fresh thyme leaves
Arrange pear slices over the cheese in a ring. Brush the pears with melted butter and drop a few dollops of the Quince spread in a few spots.
Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the pears are tender and the pastry is golden.
Remove from the oven and let rest for about 10 minutes before removing from the tin.
Plate the tart onto a serving platter, top with a bit of fresh thyme leaves, and serve slices with prosciutto (optional) and a teaspoon of Fig spread on top.