Autumn is my favorite season, hands down. I have finally started to accept that I’m not the biggest fan of the summer. I like the idea of summer, but it always goes by so fast and I realize I hadn’t done anything that I actually enjoy about it because it’s always just SO busy. So, once the temperature starts decreasing, and the chilly breeze starts to settle in, I get really pumped because it means my favorite season is upon us. Spiced beers, football, hot wings, blankets, layering sweaters, boots, and the ability to say “No I’m going to stay in tonight” without feeling guilty for missing out on a hot sunny day. I also like not sweating constantly.
Fall also means my favorite kind of cooking… hearty, warm, and involving an oven and pastry. We all know the dumbest thing to do on a hot summer’s day is to pop on the oven to just do some casual baking. The next thing you know, you’re taking an ice bath with a sweatband on.
I digress – let’s get to it! Today I’m going to write up this amaaaaaazing fruit and cheese tart. I brought it in to work this morning, and the demand for the recipe was pretty high, so I’m skipping what I was originally going to write up this week. For fun, I also got some testimonials from coworkers… so, in case you were doubting if you should try making this, maybe these will help convince you…
“Great combination of flavors and textures – sweetness of the apples and onions against the buttery brie and flaky, peppery crust.” – Becky
“Tastiest thing I’ve had in my mouth in a while.” – Sally
“I found it to be a unique combination of tastes that really put it outside of conventional desserts I’m used to. Very yummy.” – Boris
Also, believe it or not, IT’S EASY. I know I say this about everything I make, but that’s because I am not really that into super involved cooking. So, take it from me, if you have a bunch of fall fruit you don’t know what to do with, make this dang tart!
Okay, step one is the crust. You can always purchase a premade one, but honestly, this crust was sooo easy and so yummy and paired so well with the filling that I seriously recommend just making it.
- 1 ¼ c. flour
- 8 tbsp. butter (1 stick, cold) cut into pieces
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. pepper
- 3 tbsp ice water (it must be ice cold!)
Combine the flour, salt and pepper in a food processor. Add in butter piece by piece with the food processor on medium-low and incorporate until the mixture is kind of crumbly. It’ll probably be relatively floury still, but don’t worry. While the processor is still running, slowly drizzle the ice water into the mix, it will quickly turn the dough firm and sticky and turn off once it’s in a ball. This whole process is incredibly fast!
Lightly flour a surface and transfer the ball of dough. Shape it into a flat disk, then wrap in plastic wrap and stick it in the fridge for about 30-60 minutes, basically until you’re ready to start assembling the tart.
- 4 small/medium apples and pears (or just one or the other)
- 1 medium sweet onion
- 1/2 lb. brie cheese (or 1 small wheel) – check out Fairway if you’re near one for a great selection of wonderful, affordable cheese!
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1/4 c. light brown sugar
Preheat the oven to 400˚F.
Slice the onion into pieces that aren’t too big, but not too finely chopped. Add some olive oil to a skillet and caramelize the onions over medium heat. Make sure you don’t burn them, you want it to be a slow cook that will soften the onion and give it a lovely browned look. It should take about 15-20 minutes to achieve this so if they’re cooking too fast and starting to burn, turn the heat down. Patience, my child.
While the onions are caramelizin’, start slicing up your apples and pears. You want to slice them pretty thin, but not paper thin… about 1/8 of an inch. Don’t forget to pause and toss around your onions while you’re slicing. Yes, I’m condoning multitasking – its one of the most important parts of being a good cook!
Once you’ve finished slicing your apples and pears, and the onions are all deliciously caramelized, and your house smells like the most yummy place in the world, you can take out your pie crust from the fridge. Place it on a lightly floured surface and start rolling it out. You want it to be a bit bigger than the size of your tart pan. Once its evenly rolled out to the desired size, lightly lay it over your pan and press the excess edges into the rippled sides of the pan. Make sure you don’t rip it at the base of the edges, because you don’t want the cheese to leak through when it starts getting all melty-oozy. Yes, that’s a technical term. Melty-oozy.
Now that you’ve got your crust ready to go, start slicing up your brie and setting up your nice layer of cheesy goodness.
Now that you’ve created the most delicious looking bed of cheese, top it with an evenly spread out layer of your caramelized onions.
Now take your apple and pear slices and start layering them around the edge of the crust in a ring, leaving an opening in the middle. Once that is done, begin to circularly lay them out, creating a rose-like assemblage of slices in the middle.
Once you’ve finished assembling the tart, take to a small pan over medium-high heat and add your lemon juice and brown sugar, cook down until it’s syrupy, then drizzle over the top of the tart.
Pop dat baby in the oven for 30-40 minutes, until you can visibly see the cheese bubbling through, and the apples and pears have got a nice little curled up look going on with their skin.
Remove from the oven, and let cool for 5 minutes until removing the base of the pan from it’s edging.
Now eat it. Fast. Because if there is anyone else in your house, they will soon find out how amazing this is and you won’t be able to indulge yourself as much as you’d like.
ENJOY!!! HAPPY TARTING!