Are you there spring? It’s me, Ari.
I come in peace. Or rather, with a peace offering. If I leave these pear tartlets (pancetta! blue cheese! honey!) on your door step, will you kindly kick winter out? Perhaps I’m looking for an excuse to declutter and purge the house because SPRING CLEANING IS A REAL THING, but beyond that I need warmer weather. Like, stat. And you’re the only one who can help.
Have I told you about this amazing food photography course I completed in the fall? It’s taught by Sarah Fennel of Broma Bakery, and it definitely helped provide focus in terms of branding myself, growing as a photographer, and pushed me to network with likeminded professionals in my field. I am by no means where I want to be, but I’ve got this kick ass check list with personal and professional goals, and I have a plan for moving forward.
The most valuable take away from the course, however, has been the friendships I’ve formed. I know — totally cliché. But these are my people! I’ve got friends rooting me on in Florida, California, Ohio, Canada, England, Austria, the list goes on. And it’s not one way. We lift each other up when recipes fail. We cheer each other on when landing new clients or gigs. And we celebrate each other’s growth. I feel like I’ve found my place in this completely oversaturated field and it’s giving me the confidence to believe in myself. That’s everything. And it’s priceless.
Yes, hi, concision is not my strong point.
After completing our course, the tribe decided to work together on a chain of recipes once every couple of months. The only rule is that we stick to a single theme. Our first challenge is #springdreaming
Pears don’t exactly scream spring. They pop up mostly in late fall and winter. But here’s the thing, we’re still in this. Just yesterday we got slammed with another 5″ of snow. It’s been hit after hit, and guys, wasn’t February supposed to be our coldest, snowiest month?
So this is my peace offering. We’re moving away from winter and slowly dipping our toes into the sand with this one, just waiting for the water to warm up. And if this is any indication of how spring is shaping up, I ain’t mad about it.
Light, crispy, salty, a little sweet, and adored by 2 out of 3 children in the Well Seasoned house! That’s a glowing seal of approval (trust me on that one). Pear tartlets, you get to stay.
Pear tartlets with pancetta and blue cheese
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 4 oz pancetta cubed
- 14 oz puff pastry thawed
- all-purpose flour for dusting
- 2 pears thinly sliced into ½ moon wedges
- ¼ lb blue cheese or gorgonzola
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter melted
- Malden sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 400 F. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Heat olive oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add pancetta and cook until almost crispy, about 4 minutes, stirring often. Do not overcook, the pancetta will continue to crisp up in the oven. Remove from heat and place in a paper towel lined bowl to drain excess fat.
- When puff pastry is completely thawed, dust a work surface with a little flour. Unfold the puff pastry and roll out into a 12” x 14” rectangle. Using a pizza cutter or knife, cut the puff pastry into 8 equal rectangles, 6” x 3 ½” each. Transfer puff pastry to baking sheets, placing four on each tray.
- Use a knife to score a smaller rectangle around the perimeter of the pastry, leaving about ¼” of dough on the outside. Use a fork to gently poke the center rectangle of each pastry.
- Fan out a few pear slices and layer on top of pastry, trying not to go outside the scored line. Sprinkle on about 1 Tbsp cooked pancetta and 1 Tbsp of blue cheese. Repeat with remaining pastries.
- Bake for 10 minutes, then rotate pans and cook for an additional 5 minutes, or until puff pastry is golden brown.
- Let cool for 5 minutes, then top each tartlet with a sprinkle of malden sea salt, some freshly ground black pepper, fresh thyme leaves, and a drizzle of honey. Serve immediately.