Pear Tart: A Holiday Treat

Well, I’m home for the holidays, and that means lots and lots and LOTS of cooking and baking with my mom.  This is a time of year I look forward to because the food is abundant and the company is wonderful.  My mom and I are usually baking up a storm in the kitchen, my dad is on the computer commenting occasionally on the smell wafting into the room, and my younger sister does not miss a beat to tell us what to make next.  Toby, our west highland terrier, is the best vacuum cleaner we could ever ask for and cleans up any morsel we drop on the floor.  All in all, a somewhat chaotic scene, but I wouldn’t ask for anything else.

This particular recipe is one of my favorites that my mom makes.  It’s a great winter dessert and is perfect after a big holiday dinner.  I always make sure it gets made when I come home from school because it is one of my favorite desserts.

Here is the recipe for Caramelized Upside-Down Pear Tart:

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INGREDIENTS

  • 4 large firm-ripe Bosc pears (2 pounds total)
  • 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  •  Pastry dough (1 store-bought, or homemade)

DIRECTIONS

Peel and halve pears, the core (preferably with a melon-ball cutter). Heat butter in a 9- to 10-inch well-seasoned cast-iron skillet over moderate heat until foam subsides, then stir in sugar (sugar will not be dissolved). Arrange pears, cut sides up, in skillet with wide parts at rim of skillet. Sprinkle pears with cinnamon and cook, undisturbed, until sugar turns a deep golden caramel. (This can take as little as 10 minutes or as much as 25, depending on pears, skillets, and stove.) Cool pears completely in skillet.

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 425°F.

Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface with a floured rolling pin into a 12-inch round and trim to a 9 1/2- to 10 1/2-inch round. Arrange pastry over caramelized pears, tucking edge around pears inside rim of skillet. Bake tart until pastry is golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool on rack 5 minutes.

Invert a rimmed serving plate (slightly larger than skillet) over skillet and, using pot holders to hold skillet and plate tightly together, invert tart onto plate. Serve tart warm or at room temperature.

Recipe courtesy of epicurious

When my mom and I make this, we always make the pastry dough, but if you don’t have enough time to do that, store-bought dough is just as good.  I know Trader Joes has frozen pie crusts year round.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much and my family and I do! Enjoy!

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Calling All Vegetarians!

So this past week, I was looking for something new and exciting to make.  I decided on something burger related because I was craving that at the time.  But as I browsed through burger recipes, I came across this little gem.  Although I am usually beef or turkey patty kinda girl, this bean burger caught my attention.  It might be because I grew up in a house with a vegetarian (my dad), or it could be that I am subconsciously moving away from my obsession with meat (don’t worry, I’m still a bacon addict) and onto an interest in just interesting and different recipes.  This recipe is for a parmesan, kale, and white bean burger.  Yes, I have never bought kale in my life, and my mom’s jaw dropped when I told her that I had used kale in a recipe.  But HEY, you gotta try new ingredients sometimes, right?  Anyways, they turned out really well, and I chose to eat them with mixed greens and a horseradish sauce.  To tell you the truth, I have no idea how I came up with the idea of putting horseradish sauce on it, but it worked out quite well, so I was very pleased with the combination.

Well enough talking from me! Here is the recipe for Parmesan, Kale, and White Bean Burgers

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 large leaves kale, stems removed, leaves chopped
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/8 teaspoon paprika
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3 cups cooked white beans (or 2, 15 oz. cans rinsed and drained)
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • 2 sun-dried tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 eggs

DIRECTIONS

In a skillet set over medium heat, cook onion and garlic, in bit of oil, until softened. Add kale, water and spices. Cook until kale is wilted.

Mash beans in a large bowl with a potato masher or the back of a fork. Add kale mixture and remaining ingredients, mashing as you go. Season mixture with salt and pepper.

Divide and form into 6 patties. Cook on the grill or the stove top over medium heat, until both sides are browned and patties are heated through.

Serve over a bed of lettuce and drizzle with horseradish sauce (recipe below)

HORSERADISH SAUCE

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 3-4 tablespoons prepared horseradish

DIRECTIONS

Mix sour cream and horseradish together until blended.

Recipe courtesy of kitchensimplicity.com

This was a recipe that I stepped out on a limb for, and it ended up being really delicious; in the end, a good risk taken.  So go ahead, buy your first (or 100th) head of kale and take the leap of faith.  Enjoy!