Sweet/Savory Fall Tarts

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FYI, it’s still technically fall. I know you’re all emotionally into dark-winter Advent, or at least going to Christmas parties all the time, but my calendar says I have two more weeks to post these recipes. Also, Texas does this weird, manipulative thing with fall. Everyone talks about missing the season and northern hometowns and color, but really you get a pretty beautiful autumn in Central Texas. It just happens in December. It holds out and you get over it and then all of a sudden it’s beautiful fall with crisp, not cold, weather, the smell of leaves, oranges and yellows and reds…and you want a cold snap and maybe some snow. It’s all you’ve wanted since August, and when you finally get it you want something else. Eh.

Sweet/savory fall tarts are one of my favorite treats of the season (whenever it might occur). That sounds kind of vague and noncommittal, but fall is the best season with the best food, so it’s actually not vague at all. It’s quite a statement. Like with soup, figuring out that you don’t really need a recipe for puff pastry tarts opens up a world of food creativity and joy. I’m into making my own pastry dough, but puff pastry is its own beautiful, convenient, frozen thing. You can start with the delicious combinations below, but the possibilities are endless. I mean, probably.

These would be killer for a holiday appetizer shindig or adapted as a dessert. I made three different kinds of tarts for the party I told you about awhile ago: one big Bosc pear and honey goat cheese tart, two small Macintosh apple and sharp cheddar tarts, and one small roasted butternut squash and honey goat cheese tart all with caramelized onions. My original plan was honey goat cheese and pear, but then I went wild with the food that was near at hand.

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Pear to the left, apples lower right, two bitty pieces of the butternut squash remaining on the upper right. I always forget to take photos until it’s almost too late. Also, I never took photos. Photo credit to friend Andrea again.

First, I will tell you how to caramelize an onion if you don’t already know: you just cook it for a long time. Okay, but really there are a couple things you should know. It takes at least half an hour, sometimes around 45 minutes, over medium/medium-high heat. Drizzle some olive oil in a pan, add the sliced onion with a pinch of salt and pepper once the pan is hot, and stir them around while they cook. They’ll get dry before they’re done cooking, so you’ll want to add some liquid when that happens. Some people use broth. This particular day I used BEER. It was awesome. I probably used a little less than half a bottle of dark ale; then I drank the rest—that’s an important step. When the onions are translucent, totally soft, and have turned a caramel color they’re ready to top a tart. Or anything else.

Large Pear, Honey Goat Cheese, and Caramelized Onion Tart

Ingredients:

  • One sheet of frozen puff pastry (Pillsbury comes with two sheets folded in thirds)
  • 2-3 oz. soft honey goat cheese (if you can’t find this variety, just get plain and drizzle with honey)
  • 2ish bosc pears, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 yellow onion (probably), caramelized

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350
  2. Spread honey goat cheese over the defrosted puff pastry sheet, leaving a half inch border all the way around.
  3. Arrange thinly sliced pears over the puff pastry in an even layer, leaving that border. Make sure the slices aren’t stacked, but are just overlapping so the fruit doesn’t get too heavy for the fluffy pastry dough. (Once when making an apple tart I stacked up the fruit too much and the dough sort of disappeared under it; it was so heavy that I couldn’t transfer it off the cookie sheet without completely destroying the tart.)
  4. Spread the caramelized onions over the top so that they’re evenly spaced around.
  5. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  6. Bake until the crust is golden brown—around 30 minutes, checking every once in awhile after 20.

 Small Macintosh Apple, Sharp Cheddar, and Caramelized Onion Tart

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 sheet of frozen puff pastry (I usually make this size because you don’t need to wait for the dough to defrost completely—the folded sheets of dough break into even thirds.)
  • 1/4 – 1/2 C shredded white sharp cheddar (I think orange would just look gross)
  • 1 Macintosh apple
  • 1/6  yellow onion (probably), caramelized

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350
  2. Sprinkle the shredded cheese in an even layer, leaving a half inch border all the way around.
  3. Place the thinly sliced apples in a line on the dough.
  4. Spread the caramelized onions over the top so that they’re evenly spaced around.
  5. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  6. Bake until the crust is golden brown—these will be closer to 20min.

Same steps apply to the butternut squash variety. I’ve also made the pear tart with bacon. So, that’s a pretty good idea. If you want to go the dessert route, leave out the cheese and toss sliced apples or pears with cinnamon and sugar before arranging them on the pastry dough. You could also drizzle the top with caramel.

I suggest keeping a couple packages of puff pastry in your freezer so you can get creative with the food you have around when a last minute party situation sneaks up on you. Tis the season. Whichever season it is right now.

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About toeachhisscone

Hi. My name is Heather. I am Catholic and I like to feed people. Basically, I over-think, over-cook, over-eat, and then over-write about it. This is where that last part happens. Welcome.

One response to “Sweet/Savory Fall Tarts

  1. Pingback: Trifle-in « To Each His Scone

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