Sunday, December 16, 2007

Balsamic Pear, Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Phyllo Tart


I posted about this back in April, but I figured it's worth a re-post as it makes for a good potluck item, this being the holiday potluck season and all. There's definitely a baklava/spanakopita thing going on here, but it falls between the two on the sweet to savory continuum.

Equipment:

• One 9X13 baking dish
• One pastry brush
• One of those pancake flipper things (I grew up calling it a spatula; it is in fact not a spatula, but rather a pancake flipper thing)

Ingredients:

• Phyllo dough, one 1 lb package, thawed
• Unsalted butter, one stick (Not a bad idea to have more handy)
• Olive oil, 2 Tbsp
• Three pears (Bosc will probably work best here), cored and thinly sliced
• Balsamic vinegar, one cup
• Water, four cups
• Goat cheese, twelve oz, softened
• Three large yellow onions
• Salt, one Tbsp
• Walnuts, one cup, chopped

First, you're going to want to slice the onions into three inch pieces (ski goggles are useful here). Heat the olive oil and about 2 Tbsp of the butter in a large saute pan, throw in the onions and caramelize them over medium heat:


When caramelizing onions, it helps to throw a pinch of salt on them, which helps to draw out the sugars. You'll also want to stir them frequently. They'll take about an hour. When they're done, they'll have reduced in volume quite a bit:


While the onions are doing their thing, put the vinegar and water into a good sized sauce pan, bring it to a simmer and add the pears. You don't want them to cook for too long, just long enough for them to soften a little and take on some of the flavor of the vinegar, maybe fifteen minutes. Strain and pat dry.

Next, grease up that baking dish and melt the butter. Phyllo dough usually comes rolled into two half-pound sub-packages. You'll use at least one, and probably half of the other. Unroll the phyllo and lay it flat on your counter. Trim it, if necessary, to fit the baking dish. Lay a slightly damp towel over the dough while it sits, as it will dry out and become difficult to work pretty quickly. Once the onions are finished caramelizing and off the heat, layer 15 sheets of the phyllo into the baking dish, brushing melted butter onto every second or third sheet. Spread the goat cheese and onions over the top:


Layer fifteen more sheets of phyllo on top of the onions, again having brushed every second or third sheet with the butter, and arrange the pear slices in a thin layer:


Layer on fifteen more sheets of phyllo (again with the butter), brush the top with any remaining butter, score the top few layers of phyllo using the classic trapezoidal baklava shape, and sprinkle on the walnuts.

Place into a pre-heated oven at 375 degrees and bake for 45-50 minutes. When done, the top layer of phyllo will be golden but not quite verging on burned, and the walnuts will have a nice toasted appearance. Let it cool, and slice into pieces along the scores. Dig one or two pieces out with your knife and let the pancake flipper thing do the rest of the work.

Send any leftovers to your cardiologist.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yum! But you're about 24 hours too late. My potluck was this morning. Maybe I'll try this at the first family night dinner at the lake! LGS

CresceNet said...

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Anonymous said...

Can this be assembled in the morning and baked at night?