Oops, an unintentional hiatus. And now an entire week has passed with hardly a check-in.
Weeks like the last can feel strange once they’re over. It was busy. BUSY. So that all other activities fell by the wayside. I don’t think I touched the stove at all except to heat up some canned soup (again, clam chowder). I also didn’t get the chance to take any photos for myself. Not even yesterday, when we ventured out of the city to go hiking in Cold Spring, New York.
Let me tell you, the fall foliage is stunning! We hiked to the top of a hill, where we stopped for lunch and peered down into the valley. Total tableau moment. A mottled, vibrantly-colored blanket of trees that swooped down into the valley, the Hudson River, gleaming and wide and slow, train tracks leading to the small town of Cold Spring along the shores of the river. And gosh, the town was cute. Do all New England towns look like this? Are they all so picturesque? It’s utterly foreign, just like the sight of palm tree-lined roads might be foreign to some of you. But they really do exist in California, even in random, unglamorous suburbs.
I can see why people love this season most of all. It answers the question of how the unbearable heat could possibly give way to unbearable cold. It’s done in increments, step-by-step, although on some days you feel that winter is very imminent. And on others, like today, you make sure to go outside and enjoy the sun for as long as you can.
I’m glad I have a down-filled jacket in my closet.
I made this pear and blue cheese tart a couple weeks ago. Chris gobbled it up, although he removed every chunk of blue cheese in his mouth’s way. Without the blue cheese, the tart reminds me an awful lot of a bear claw. Which I find irresistible. I mean, pear-scented puff pastry covered with almonds? Am I right?
The blue cheese fancies up the tart. I’m not opposed to that at all. It becomes sweet and salty and, well, peculiar in the way that blue cheese makes everything a little peculiar. Delicious. And perfect for the fall.
PEAR AND BLUE CHEESE TART
Adapted from Leite’s Culinaria
Makes 1 square tart
1 9-inch square frozen puff pastry, defrosted
1/2 pound blanched almonds
1/4 cup sugar
1 to 2 pears, unpeeled, stemmed and thinly sliced (I used Asian pears)
Honey for drizzling
2 to 4 ounces blue cheese
1 egg white, beaten with a small drizzle of water
Preheat the oven to 400° Fahrenheit. Use a pairing knife to score a line around the perimeter of the rectangle about 1/2 inch from the edge to make a border. Use a fork to poke holes inside the border so that the dough will remain flat as it cooks while the border will puff to create a lip for the tart.
Combine the almonds, sugar, and 1/2 tablespoon of water in a food processor and grind to a paste. Spread the paste over just the portion of the puff pastry inside the border. Arrange the pear slices over the almond paste. Drizzle with the honey and crumble the blue cheese over the top. Lightly brush the border with the egg and bake until the pastry is puffed and golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool slightly before cutting into squares.