This vegetarian French pear and blue cheese tart with a crispy walnut crust is bursting with strong, hearty and fall flavors.
One of my very first recipes on the blog was already a pear and blue cheese tart, a dish I have discovered in my early twenties (maybe even before actually) and loved ever since. It’s also how David fell for me a few years ago… I served a pear and blue cheese tart for our first date at my place and it totally blew him away. But if you search for it on the blog now, you can’t find it. I’s because I removed it due to a very poor photo – that I once thought was ok – that didn’t give credit to this awesome recipe. However, I have been asked to put the recipe back many times as this pear and blue cheese tart is insanely good, on top of being extremely easy to prepare. It was a project of mine for too long, and I finally completed it.
Well, I did not exactly put the old recipe back, as I felt in the mood of adding something new to the recipe, a very special crust to be exact. You can still go for a regular pastry crust if you wish, and even a puff pastry crust would do the job. Just use what’s more convenient for you. Or if like me you want to try something just a little bit more sophisticated, go for this walnut crust instead, that adds some delicious nutty flavors. Please follow the instruction carefully so that the dough holds together and doesn’t break into pieces while serving. My secret is to keep the bottom thick enough to hold the filling.
Then of course this tart involves cheese! Cheese and fruits pair very well together, that’s now a fact, whether fruits are raw of served as jam or a chutney. For instance, you can enjoy Brie or Camembert with apples or raisins, goat cheese with figs or berries, or blue cheese with pears. Of course, don’t forget the nuts, such as walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, or even pistachio!
Find other recipes involving cheese and fruits on the blog:
- Lentil Salad with Caramelized Pears and Blue Cheese
- Goat Cheese Mousse with Roasted Blueberries
- Mini Cranberry Pecan Cheeseballs
- Baked Brie-Camembert Pyramid with Pomegranate and Pistachio
If you too are into sweet and savory flavors, you will fall for this new pear and blue cheese recipe. Some people might find blue cheese too strong and do not like the idea of mold, and I totally get that, even though it doesn’t bother me at all (but eh, I’m French after all!). However, you’ll be happy to learn that once blue cheese is cooked, it looses most of this too-strong flavor you usually dislike to keep mostly its lovely creamy texture.
Pears are interesting here as they bring some freshness to the whole dish, making it a little bit lighter, with an interesting contrast in texture. Since pear are in season right now, I naturally used some very fresh ones from the latest harvest. You can go for whatever variety you fancy, and I recommend to choose them still a little bit hard, or not ripe yet at least. Keep the last ones to eat raw. The idea here is to prevent pears from releasing their juice while baking in the oven in the tart. Also, they will become tender while they bake so you don’t need to bother about this part.
Toppings are optional but always welcome. I like to add some walnuts on top, and I sometimes replace them with hazelnut or pine nuts. Just be careful when baking that they do not turn dark and burned; if so, cover the tart with foil at mid-baking time while not too late. There are also other suggesting presentations I could recommend here, such as drizzling a few dried cranberries and display just a few leaves of fresh arugula salad. You can enjoy this tart as a starter or as a main dish with a side of salad and maybe a little bowl of soup.
- 1½ cups (190g) walnuts
- 1 cup (100g) all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 4 Tablespoons (60g) unsalted butter, cold and cut into tiny pieces
- 2 Tablespoons sour cream (or crème fraîche)
- 2 large pears, halved, cored, and sliced
- 3.5 oz (150g) blue cheese
- Salt & freshly ground pepper
- 1 handful walnuts
- For the crust: place walnuts in a food processor and pulse until finely ground. Add flour, salt, cold butter cut into tiny pieces, and mix until mixture comes together. Wrap the dough in plastic dough and refrigerate for one hour.
- Using your finger tips, press the dough into a 9-inch (23 cm) pie dish with detachable bottom, flattening bottom with a glass. Freeze for about 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
- For the filling: garnish the bottom of the pie with the sour cream/crème fraîche. Display sliced pears on top, and sprinkle blue cheese all over. Season with salt and pepper.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes, then remove from the oven. Add walnuts, and bake again for 5-7 minutes. Carefully lift the pie from the pie dish, and serve with a side of salad.