I was wandering around the farmer's market on a rainy afternoon, looking for inspiration for a savory tart, when the Asian pears caught my eye. After tasting three varieties, I settled on these golden Shinkos, sweet and crisp. Paired with creamy brie, caramelized onion and fennel, and fresh rosemary, the smell of this tart in the oven was just the antidote I was looking for on a dreary grey day.
If you can't find Asian pears, try Bosc or Bartletts that are still a little firm.
The tart dough is based on a recipe from Cucina Simpatica (a.k.a. the Al Forno cookbook by Johanne Killeen & George Germon) and is an incredibly easy, never-fail recipe.
I like to serve this galette as a first course or brunch dish, with a lightly-dressed arugala salad on the side.
cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2" pieces
Pear, Onion and Fennel Filling
medium yellow onions, peeled and thinly sliced cross-wise
small/medium fennel bulb, outer layer removed, and white/light green parts thinly sliced crosswise (discard dark green parts)
large, ripe but firm Asian pears (I used Shinko variety), peeled, cored and cut into thin slices
extra virgin olive oil
finely chopped fresh rosemary
Brie (a mild, double-cream works best)
grated Manchego cheese
Salt and freshly ground pepper
In This Recipe
Put the flour and salt in a food processor and pulse a few times to combine.
Add the butter, tossing quickly to coat each piece with flour to prevent pieces from sticking together. Pulse until combined, and mixture is the texture of course sand.
Add the ice water with the motor running. Process until dough comes together, stopping before it becomes a solid mass.
Turn contents onto a clean work surface and press together with your hands, forming a ball, and then flatten into a rough disk.
Cover dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour, or up to 2 days.
Pear, Onion and Fennel Filling
Heat butter and olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat.
Add onions and fennel to pan and saute until soft and translucent, stirring occasionally, about 15-20 min. Add 1/2 tsp. kosher salt.
When liquid from onions has evaporated and mixture is beginning to brown around edges and stick to bottom of pan, add sherry to deglaze the pan, scraping the brown bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.
Reduce heat to low and add pears and rosemary, tossing with wooden spoon to combine. Cook for 1-2 minutes until flavors combine and pears begin to soften slightly. Add ground pepper and more salt to taste. Remove pan from heat and set aside.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface with a rolling pin into a free-form circle, about 10-12" in diameter. Transfer the dough to the center of a baking sheet.
Remove the rind from Brie, and spread it in an even layer onto the dough leaving a 1 1/2 inch border on the outside.
Spread pear and onion mixture over brie, and top with grated Manchego.
Fold the border over the filling, gently pinching to form soft pleats every inch or so all the way around. Shape should be rustic and free-form.
Make an egg wash by whisking egg and water together in a small bowl. Use a pastry brush to lightly coat the dough of the tart with egg wash.
Bake the tart in the center of the oven for about 25 minutes, until the crust is golden, and the filling is bubbling with and browned on top. Cool slightly and serve warm or at room temperature.
A museum marketing professional 8 hours a day, and a gal who's dreaming, drooling, obsessing about food for the other 18 hours. Wait, that doesn't add up to 24? Oh, that's because I'm counting the hours I'm supposed to be working that I dream about food (don't tell my boss).
Several years ago, I started a cooking club with six girlfriends...ten years later...many of our addresses and last names have changed, our palettes have gotten more sophisticated and the wine has gotten less cheap. We now usually sit at dining room tables like grownups instead of on cushions on the floor of studio apartments, and the conversations have shifted with the life stages...but we're still going strong, the food gets better every month, and nothing is more pleasurable than sharing an afternoon laughing, eating, and trading tips on recipes and life.