TWO-WAY AUTUMN PEAR TART:
SAVORY OR SWEET

By Dawn Boulay

Pears are a good source of vitamin C and copper. Both of these antioxidants help protect cells in the body from oxygen-related damage due to free radicals. Their fiber promotes cardiovascular and digestive health.

Among the fruits and vegetables richest in health-promoting antioxidants, cranberries rank right up there at the top of the list. While familiar nutrients like vitamin C and fiber play a very important role in cranberry's health benefits, it's the amazing array of phytonutrients in cranberries that has gotten the attention of health researchers. The phytonutrients contained in cranberries have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer properties.

One basic recipe, two applications: as a side/main dish, or as a dessert. The crust is made with part whole wheat flour and flax seed meal to boost nutrition.

CRUST

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temp
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup heavy cream or milk
1 cup all-purpose flour plus 2 tablespoons, plus more for rolling out the dough
½ cup whole wheat flour
2-3 TB flaxseed meal
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

Process the butter, cream cheese, and cream in a food processor, electric mixer, or by hand to thoroughly combine. Add the flour and salt. Process just until combined and the dough holds together in a ball. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface. Divide into 2 pieces. Flatten into disks and wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before rolling out. If the dough is chilled overnight, take it out 15 minutes before rolling out. (You can freeze unused dough to use another time.) Sprinkle flour on a piece of wax paper or plastic wrap, place one disk on it and sprinkle top with flour. Place another piece of wax paper/plastic wrap on top and roll out dough into desired shape and size, and place in tart pan or on parchment lined cookie sheet for free form tart, and chill for 15-20 minutes.


SAVORY: PEAR TART WITH CARMELIZED ONIONS & BLUE CHEESE

Serve as a main dish with a salad for lunch or dinner, or as a side dish to accompany the meal.

5 cups peeled and sliced pears (3 to 5 pears)
1-2 onions, peeled, sliced
dried or fresh cranberries
blue cheese to taste
pecans or walnuts to taste
1-2 TB chopped fresh rosemary if desired
salt and pepper

Carmelize the onions by cooking slowly in a little bit of oil until they are very soft and sweet and turning color. Cool slightly, then spread the carmelized onions on the bottom of the crust.

If using a round tart pan, cover the onions with pears, either piled or placed in a circle, starting on the outside, overlap the slices, working into the center.

Sprinkle the pears with cheese, cranberries, nuts, salt & pepper and rosemary.

Bake at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until the crust is browned and pears are roasted.


SWEET: PEAR TART

basic crust recipe
5 cups of pears, peeled and sliced (3 to 5 pears)
freshly grated nutmeg or cinnamon
lemon or orange zest
dried or fresh cranberries
nuts
vanilla yogurt, ice cream, sorbet, or powdered sugar

Prepare the crust as in the savory recipe.

Toss the pears with nutmeg and lemon zest and arrange in the crust as desired. Sprinkle nuts and cranberries and bake at 400 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes or until the crust is browned.

Serve warm or cold with favorite topping.

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