Recipe: Pear and Brie Tart

As someone who balances a full-time job, this blog, a potential side hustle, friend and family obligations, boyfriend time, sleeping, and commuting to work every day, weekends mean a lot of things to me (as I'm sure they do most people).

Weekends need to be my social life and my alone time and my blog work time. I want a lot of things out of my weekends and that often leads to conflicting desires and maybe even a hangover in the mix, which always complicates things. I want to go to brunch with friends, but I also want to stay in bed all day, and I want to knock out 3 recipes for you. And as much as I tell myself that it's okay to not do it all, I'm still sometimes left feeling disappointed when I waste a precious weekend cuddled up on the sofa with strong tea, two cats, and hours of Netflix. But maybe it was the break I needed? A break that creates space in my brain for bigger and better content for this blog or something I've been struggling with at work? Who knows.

My biggest way to combat this Weekend Productivity Worries is by creating lists. Sitting down and thinking about what I want to accomplish in those 48 hours, breaking down each item into steps, and having a visual representation of what I've gotten done. And you know? It helps. When it's Sunday night and I think back on a weekend, I have a detailed report of what I knocked out. Or I know exactly what I need to work on this upcoming week/weekend. Plus, I like the feeling of being on top of things. In control of my time and what's going on in my life. It's something I strive for often in my life and rarely find (which is okay with me, I like the challenge and constant change of my life as well). But when I feel on top of things, in control, knocking things off that to-do list left and right? It's the greatest.

Whether you have oodles of times this weekend or not, this tart is simple and quick and great for a crowd. This tart also contents a lot of my favorite things: flaky crust, brie, pears, and dried cranberries. I encourage you to buy extra dried cranberries for this recipe, so you have enough after sneaking handfuls while assembling this tart.

Pear and Brie Tart with Cranberries

Makes one tart

1 sheet of thawed puff pastry
2-3 pears
squeeze of lemon juice
1/4 lb brie
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1-2 teaspoon sugar
1-2 tablespoon honey
ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Thinly slice pears and place in a bowl. Squeeze the juice of half a lemon over them and lightly toss. This will keep the pears from browning. Set aside.

Unfold puff pastry sheet and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Fold over all four edges of the puff pastry about 1/2 inch and press down with the tines of a fork, creating a small "crust" all the way around.

Slice brie into 1/4" slices and arrange on the puff pastry within the crust. You'll want to pieces of brie to be about an inch apart throughout the entire tart. Using clean fingers, lightly press the brie into the puff pastry so it spreads out and isn't as tall. Reserving a small handful of the dried cranberries, add the rest of them over evenly over the brie. Next, arrange pears in an alternating pattern, using any small slices to fill in gaps. Place remaining dried cranberries on top of the pears, and sprinkle the entire tart with sugar. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the crust is golden and flaky.

Remove from oven, drizzle with honey and top with a little cracked black pepper. Serve warm as an appetizer or light dessert.

Recipe: Pear and Goat Cheese Tart

I can't take credit for the idea for this recipe, but I honestly can't remember where I saw it. I was probably just skimming through Pinterest or some other recipe website and came across the idea for a pear and goat cheese tart with rosemary and I stored it in the back of my brain for when I was ready. And last weekend, I was ready.

In the making of this tart, I also learned that puff pastry and phyllo dough aren't really the same thing. Maybe you all know that already, but I had never worked with either of them so when the supermarket was out of puff pastry, I bought phyllo dough instead only to come home and learn they definitely aren't the same thing. You live, you learn. But I found puff pastry later, and wrapped some asparagus that were just about to turn in my fridge in the phyllo dough and topped them with parm cheese and everyone was happy. Mostly me, because I didn't have to waste food. And I ate both things. 

BACK TO THE PEAR TART. This thing is really delicious. Creamy, tart goat cheese with sweet pears and honey. Topped with black pepper and rosemary to cut the sweetness. I made this, impressed myself, and then immediately took it to a Super Bowl party out of fear I would devour the entire thing. It also looks very impressive for very little effort and who isn't a fan of that?

Pear and Goat Cheese Tart 

Makes one tart

1 sheet of thawed puff pastry
2-3 pears
1 half lemon
8 ounces of goat cheese
1-2 teaspoon of sugar
1-2 teaspoons of fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1-2 tablespoon honey
cracked black pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. 

Thinly slice pears and place in a bowl. Squeeze the juice of half a lemon over them and lightly toss. This will keep the pears from browning. Set aside.

Unfold puff pastry sheet and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Fold over all four edges of the puff pastry about 1/2 inch and press down with the tines of a fork, creating a small "crust" all the way around.

Crumble goat evenly cheese over the puff pastry. Arrange pears in an alternating pattern over goat cheese and lightly sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the pears are soft and the puff pastry is golden and flaky.

Remove from oven, drizzle with honey and top with chopped rosemary and cracked black pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature. 

Baked Brie Recipe

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You should be warned that if you are going to make this baked brie appetizer, you better have people over quick. Once you break into that crust, you might eat the entire thing yourself. I had to force myself to stop eating, and it was quite a struggle.

This isn't a recipe as much as it is a how to. Take a few ingredients that are fabulous on their own and wrap them all together and serve it to your friends and family. If they like brie, they'll love it. I promise.

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Baked Brie

Serves 4-6 people

  • 1 wheel of brie
  • 1 tube Pillsbury Crescent seamless dough sheet
  • 1 tbsp butter, melted
  • optional: 1 granny smith apple in slices and crackers for serving; chutney, jam, preserves, etc, for topping

Preheat over to 350 degrees.

Start by removing the rind of the brie. You don't have to do this, but I don't care for the rind. It taste very medicinal to me. Just cut it off with a large knife.

Unroll your crescent dough sheet and place the brie in the center, slightly to the left. Using a pairing or steak knife, cut a 3 inch strip off the right side of the dough, leaving enough room to fold the rest completely over the brie.

Fold one side of the dough up over the brie and work your way around, folding the dough onto it's self. You want to entire top to be covered and overlapping, but feel free to remove any extra (especially once you fold the corners up. Once you're sure the entire top is sealed, flip the wrapped brie over and press it down slightly so it sits flat.

If you want to decorate, cut shapes out of that 3 inch strip of dough and arrange on the top. I used a pairing knife to make my leaf shapes.

Place brie on a baking sheet covered with a Silpat baking mat or non-stick aluminum foil. Brush on enough melted butter to coat the top. Bake for 15-25 minutes, or until golden brown. If your decorations begin to get too dark too quickly, cover with a piece of aluminum foil and check every 2-3 minutes. Don't burn your brie, but if the top is overcooked a bit it will still be delicious.

Serve immediately with apple slices and crackers. If you want to doll your brie up further, top warm brie with one of your favorite preserves, chutney, or jams. I prefer mine just as-is though. 

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Once you crack into that baby it's just so much gooey, buttery goodness. You'll also want to provide a cheese knife or spreader to get that deliciousness from the table, to the apple slice, to your mouth.

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Yum. Happy celebrating!