Beefy Pear, Roquefort, and Walnut Free-Form Tarts Recipe
This free-form savory/sweet tart (aka a galette) is drenched in the pungent flavors of the Mediterranean. Local honey and fresh lemon juice provide the sauce that gently envelops soft Bartlett pears and toothsome walnuts. Bresaola — air-dried salted beef that hails from Italy — gives it beefy depth and chew. It all gets topped off with mild Roquefort cheese and a generous dusting of freshly ground black pepper.
For the savory pastry
- 2 sticks unsalted butter
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, preferably White Lily, plus more for dusting
- 2 teaspoons sea salt or kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 3 tablespoons ice-cold water, or just enough to hold the pastry together
For the tart
- 3 firm-ripe Bartlett pears, cored and sliced thinly
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 3/4 cups coarsely chopped dried apricots
- 6 slices bresaola, chopped coarsely
- 3/4 cups coarsely chopped walnuts
- 3/4 cups local honey
- 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper, plus more to taste
- Pinch of salt
- Dash of cinnamon, generous
- 2 tablespoons flour, plus more for rolling the dough
- 1 egg wash (1 egg yolk, pinch of salt, and splash of water, blended)
- 1/2 cup crumbled Roquefort or other mild blue cheese
For the savory pastry
Place the butter in the freezer for at least 30 minutes. Remove from the freezer and let stand for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine the flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse 10-12 times (or blend in a bowl with a pastry blender). Cut the butter into ¼-inch cubes and place in the bowl of the food processor. Pulse 40-50 times quickly, just until it resembles the size of very coarse sand or sea salt. (With a pastry blender it takes about the same number of times cutting the butter into the flour.) Add the thyme.
Next, trickle the water very slowly into the pastry while pulsing/cutting. At the second the pastry begins to form a big, messy ball, stop. (If it's gummy and sticky, work 2 additional tablespoons flour into the dough.)
Lightly flour your work surface and turn out the pastry. Very quickly shape it into a 2-inch-thick round disk with your hands, scooping up any stray bits and working them into the disk. (It should feel and look like Play-Doh. Look for bits of butter peeking through the pastry — this is a good thing.)
Wrap the pastry in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or better yet, overnight.
For the tart
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
In a large bowl, gently toss together all of the ingredients except for the egg wash and cheese, being careful to coat all the fruit and filling completely. Chill for 20 minutes.
Lightly flour your work surface and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove the pastry from the refrigerator and split it in ½. Press the top of each pastry 3 times with a horizontal impression of the rolling pin.
Turn them over and roll out the pastry in two 10- to 12-inch rounds, each ¼-inch thick. Keep the top and bottom of the pastry lightly coated with flour at all times, and turn the pastry intermittently in quarter turns as you work. Roll gently but quickly, pushing out evenly as you go along.
Using your rolling pin, ease each pastry onto the baking sheet. Plop the filling into the center of the pastry circle and spread evenly into a circle, until the filling is about 1-inch thick. Trim the borders of the pastry circle with kitchen scissors so you have about 2 inches of free pastry space all around the filling. (It does not have to be perfectly symmetrical.)
Use your palm to cup the pastry around the filling, folding in creases about every 2 inches as you move around the filling. Press gently with the palm of your hand to make sure everything is sealed. Brush the pastry top and sides lightly with egg wash.
Sprinkle the open part of the filling with cheese and pepper. Transfer to the oven and bake until golden and bubbly, about 45-50 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve warm or at room temperature.