Sometimes I cheat.
I normally love making things from scratch. I enjoy the process tremendously and take pride in shopping for the freshest ingredients, doing things the traditional way, whipping egg whites by hand instead of using a mixer, etc., but sometimes I cheat.
Today is Christmas day and I needed milk, so I took a walk over to the local store that was open to get some. While there, I wandered to the produce aisle and was immersed in the rich fragrance of ripe pears. It was incredible. The whole store smelled of pears and when I turned a corner and saw the gorgeous red-gold color, I knew I had to bake something with them. I didn’t feel like rolling out dough, I’d already done that for the buñelos I made last night, but the pears were demanding that I bake something. So I cheated.
I filled a bag with pears, already calculating what I was going to make. A roasted pear tart with a cream cheese base. I slithered over to the dairy aisle and surreptitiously snuck a pre-made pastry into my basket, hoping no one I knew saw me. I picked up the cream cheese and made my get-away.
Sometimes I Cheat Roasted Red Pear & Cream Cheese Tart
Pastry dough (store bought, otherwise it won’t be a cheating tart)
About 10 Fresh Red Pears, sliced and cored, but leave the peel on
1 stick of butter
½ c. granulated cane sugar
¼ tsp. ground ginger for the pears
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
1 package cream cheese softened
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
Unfold the pastry dough and smooth out the lines. Lay it into a pastry dish or tart pan. Use pastry weights or beans to cover the bottom of the pan and bake for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees. You don’t want to cook the pastry entirely, just enough to get it semi-golden. Remove from the oven and let cool.
Slice and core the pears, leaving the peels on. Add them to a baking dish and sprinkle on the sugar and ginger evenly. Dot with the butter and put into the oven and roast them at 400 degrees till they are golden and caramelized, about 15 minutes. Let cool.
Add the softened cream cheese to a small bowl and mix in the ground nutmeg well.
Spread on the cooled pastry dough about ½ inch high.
Carefully arrange the roasted pears on top of the cream cheese, making sure to drain off any liquid. Reserve the liquid for later.
Place the tart back into a 350 degree oven for about another ten minutes, just till the crust is a deep golden brown and the cream cheese is bubbly.
Remove from the oven and let cool. Serve slightly warm with a drizzle of the roasted pear liquid. You can also take that liquid and make a simple syrup with using sugar and a pear liquor if you wish. Ice cream is good on this too, as is whipped cream.