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Goat-Cheese Tartlets with Caramelized Shallots and Pears

This fruit-and-cheese starter is a play on the classic cheese course.

  • Yield: Makes 12

Source: Martha Stewart Weddings, Summer/Fall 1998

Ingredients

  • All-purpose flour, for dusting
  • Pate Brisee
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 7 large shallots, cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 eleven-ounce logs creamy goat cheese
  • 1 1/3 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped thyme leaves
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley, plus more for garnish
  • 8 ounces frisee, for garnish
  • Caramelized Pears

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Set twelve 4-inch bottomless tartlet (flan) rings or twelve 4-inch tartlet pans with removable bottoms on two parchment-lined baking sheets. Lightly flour a clean working surface. Roll pate brisee to an 1/8-inch thickness. Cut out twelve 5-inch diameter circles, and fit into tartlet rings. Using a fork, prick pastry all over; chill until firm, at least 15 minutes.

  2. Line shells with aluminum foil; fill with dry beans or pie weights. Transfer baking sheets to oven; bake shells 12 minutes, rotating once during baking. Remove beans and foil. Continue baking until slightly golden, 7 to 9 minutes. Remove baking sheets from oven; transfer to a wire rack. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees.

  3. Melt butter in a medium skillet over medium-low heat. Add shallots and sugar; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until shallots are very tender and have deeply caramelized, 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from heat; set aside.

  4. Place goat cheese in bowl of a food processor; puree until very smooth. Add heavy and sour creams; process until well combined. Transfer to a medium bowl.

  5. Stir in thyme and parsley; season with pepper. Spoon 2 to 3 tablespoons filling into each shell, filling to within 1/8 inch from top. Arrange 1 heaping teaspoon reserved shallots on top of each tartlet.

  6. Transfer baking sheets to oven; bake tartlets until filling has set, 13 to 15 minutes, rotating once. Transfer sheets to a wire rack to cool slightly, about 10 minutes. Remove rings. Sprinkle remaining parsley over tartlets. To serve, place tartlets on plates. Garnish each plate with frisee and two slices caramelized pears.

Cook's Notes

You can bake the tartlet shells one to two days ahead, and store in an airtight container before filling and baking. Alternatively, you can form the shells, and freeze the dough until you're ready to bake them.

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