It’s now day 98 (that’s an exaggeration) of The Foodie with No Home….and surprisingly I’ve actually made peace with the whole situation. Actually, I would even say that I am as happy as I have ever been.
I haven’t been able to update these pages on a regular basis because, as I went into in last week’s post, I am between homes right now.
A few months ago I went into contract for a condo in Brooklyn, NY. I vacated my home with the anticipation that I would be closing and moving into my new place within days. At the time there were just a few clearances that we were waiting for from the NYC Department of Buildings. 98 days later…I’m still waiting.
Despite the limbo, I’m pretty excited about my new neighborhood, Williamsburg (if I ever move, that is). A Bon Appetite article dubbed it the new foodie mecca and “culinary hotbed only one subway stop from downtown Manhattan.” Food & Wine magazine talks about the neighborhood’s growing food and design scenes. And a recent New York Times feature story spoke of a ‘new culinary movement’ (to be fair, the NYT story was about Brooklyn as a whole but the lion share of the people and stores featured in the piece were centered in Williamsburg). So, you can only imagine how excited I am to move in and get the show on the road…or in my case take the show off of the road.
But for now, I rent out temporary apartments until my yet to be scheduled closing/move in date is able to be scheduled.
Having no kitchen has put a serious dent in my ability to cook and keep these pages updated. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel. My new temporary rental is right on the outer edges of my beloved Williamsburg. So, I get to walk to my soon to be neighborhood and enjoy all of the restaurants, cheese shop, micro-breweries, local food markets and artisanal coffee houses. The bad news is that I also get to walk by my condo building everyday and be taunted by the completed yet empty structure that someday I may call home. (Ugh. Pardon me for a moment as I recite the Serenity Prayer.)
Being that I have no place to cook I am always on the lookout for easy, kitchen gadget-free recipes. I came across this Honey-Pear Tart recipe thumbing through the latest copy of Donna Hay’s magazine (the Martha Stewart of Australia). I have quite a number of her cookbooks (in storage, ugh). Her food philosophy can be summed up in one word…simple.
Reading the feature in the magazine, this tart looked so easy and so delicious that I had to give it a try. I just made a few tweaks.
First, reading through the recipe it seemed as if it would be a bit heavier than what I was looking for at the moment. I wanted to add a little brightness and zip to counter the creamy ricotta and buttery puff pastry. So, I incorporated a bit of lemon juice and zest.
Also, while testing the filling, I noticed that it needed a bit more sweetness. So, in addition to the honey, I added a teaspoon or two of sugar.
Once again, Donna Hay comes through. If you love the flavor of pears, this is the tart for you.
Because the pears aren’t cook to death, their natural sweetness (and a bit of their texture) really shine through in this dessert – their juices actually collects in little pools throughout the tart. The other ingredients hang out in the background, beautifully playing their parts as supporting actors.
The ricotta filling with a slight accent of cinnamon and lemon is as creamy and soothing as the pears are bright and fresh. And the puff pastry, buttery, flakey offer up the perfect crunchy finish to the soft pears and ricotta.
This tart is definitely a keeper.
1 cup ricotta cheese
¼ TSP ground cinnamon
1 TSP granulated sugar, plus more for dusting
3 TSP honey
1 puff pastry sheet
1 TBL butter
Preheat the oven to 400⁰F.
Zest about 1 teaspoon from the lemon and set it aside. Juice about 1 teaspoon of the lemon juice and set it aside separately.
In a medium bowl mix together the lemon juice, ricotta cheese, cinnamon 1 teaspoon of sugar and 2 teaspoon of the honey until the ingredients are fully incorporated.
Cut each pear into about ¼” slices. When needed, use a knife to remove and seeds and stems. To prevent the pears from browning, coat the slices in the remaining lemon juice and set aside.
Meanwhile, cut a standard puff pastry sheet in half lengthwise (you should have two 10”x5” sheets). Being careful not to cut through the pastry, score each half sheet with a ½” border.
Staying within the pastry borders, divide and spread the ricotta mix among the two puff pastry sheets. Layer the pear slices on top of the ricotta mix. Dot the tarts with dabs of butter.
Using your fingers, gently wet the borders of each tart and pour a generous coat the borders with a generous coating of granulated sugar.
Bake tarts for about 20-25 minutes until the pastry is golden and puffed.
Gently heat the remaining honey (about 5 seconds in a microwave) and glaze the pears (Alternatively, you could glaze the tarts with warmed pear preserve).
Finish tarts off with reserved lemon zest.
Makes 2 tarts