Anywhere there is community and a sense of connectedness, there is always the act of giving, sharing and receiving. And that is exactly what I experience daily where I live. When there is a need or a want, there are many who come forward. They share their time, their skills and their resources. There is also an incredible sense of support in aiding in the success of others.
When I was asked to make a recipe which I could share on the blog and on a feature about North Wild Kitchen for NRK, I knew it had to center around what was currently available in and around my area, which I could source locally and which highlights the season. I had received a message earlier from Laila, my not-so-far-away neighbor, that she had an abundance of pears and if I wanted to, I should feel free to stop by. I then knew I should make something which features these amazing little pears. Within a few short hours, I already had the assistance of my community in sourcing the rest of the ingredients. And so it was, the savory pear tart was starting to come to fruition.
This recipe, although not necessarily Norwegian, highlights just a few of the amazing products being produced in this region (and just a little beyond). From the local honning (honey) produced from Rud Gård in Rollag to blåmuggost (blue cheese) from Thorbjørnrud Hotel in the bordering county of Oppland and to gråpære (pears) picked locally from the Juleshuset in Numedal. Even the flour was provided by the local bakery, Veggli Bakeri. In a way, this tart is really just an example of the many flavors and quality products which Norwegians are producing and using.
It is quite common to see tarts highlight the familiar flavors of pears, walnuts, blue cheese and honey. My version uses a homemade puff pastry of whole wheat or spelt flour. I initially used a coarse whole wheat flour which gave the tart an earthy and rustic feel. The texture and flavor is very good and hearty. I also have included a recipe for the puff pastry using spelt flour which I received from the local bakery. The spelt flour, which is incredibly nutritious, will result in a finer texture and lighter colored pastry. Both are delicious, so the preference is left to you.
Rustic Pear Tart with Blue Cheese, Honey & Walnuts (Pæreterte)
(Makes 1 large tart)
- 8 small or 4 large pears, sliced lengthwise, core removed, with skins on
- 75g (3/4 cup) walnuts, coarsely chopped
- 125g (4 oz) blue cheese, sharp and crumbly
- Honey, for drizzling
Coarse, Whole Wheat Puff Pastry (Butterdeig av Hvetemel Grovmalt)
- 225dl (1 cup) coarse whole wheat flour
- 225dl (1 cup) all purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 125 dl (1/2 cup) chilled water
- 225g (8oz) butter, cold and cut into small cubes
Spelt Puff Pastry (Butterdeig av Spelt)
- 250g (2 1/2 cups) spelt flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 140ml (2/3 cup) chilled water
- 250g (9oz) butter, cold and cut into small cubes
Begin with making the puff pastry (either the whole wheat version OR the spelt version). Combine the flour and salt in a bowl and pour directly over a clean work surface. Make a well inside the flour and add some of the water to it. Using your hands, gently toss it with the flour to mix. Make a well again, and add a little more of the water. Continue this process until the dough comes together. You may find that you need a little more or a little less water. Press the dough together into a square and wrap with plastic. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
Take the butter pieces all together. Sprinkle a little flour on top and with a rolling pin pound the butter until flat to soften it. Scrape up the butter and fold over. Add a little more flour and pound again. Fold over again and repeat the process until the butter is quite pliable. Shape the butter into a square, wrap it in plastic and place in the refrigerator.
Take out the dough and roll out into a square large enough for the butter square to sit in the center, with about 3 inches of dough on the outer edges. Fold the dough over the butter and pinch the edges to seal. Turn over and place on a floured surface.
Begin to roll out the dough with the butter inside, making a long rectangle. Fold the top third down to the centre, then the bottom third up and over that. Give the dough a quarter turn (to the left or right) and roll out again. Fold as before. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Take the dough out and repeat rolling out and folding the dough two more times. If you notice any butter coming through the dough, pat it with a little flour. Cover again with plastic and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Repeat rolling, folding, and turning the dough two more times. The dough should be smooth and easy to roll out by now. Return to the refrigerator and chill for at least 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F.
Roll out the dough to fit a baking sheet (about 1/4 inch thick) and place it on the baking sheet. With a knife, score a line (not all the way through) around the perimeter of the rectangle about 1 inch from the edge to make a border. Use a fork to make holes in the center to prevent the dough from bubbling up.
Arrange the pear slices along the dough, edged right next to each other. Sprinkle the crushed walnut pieces over the pears and top with chunks of the blue cheese. Generously drizzle the honey over the top as well. *If the honey you are using is not runny, just take the amount you wish to use, place it in a container and then place in warm water until the consistency becomes more runny
Place the tart in the oven and cook for 30 minutes.
Let the tart cool slightly, then cut into squares. Serve the tart warm.
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