Well, well! There you are. And here I am. I’ve missed this thing we had going. It’s been entirely too long.
I’ve barely lifted a finger in the kitchen since I last wrote. It’s not like me. Cooking (and writing about it) brings me joy. I guess it’s just that other things, and one wonderful person in particular, have been filling my cup in the meantime. Now, I think I’ve finally come to a place where I can balance both joys and spend more time here…filling my measuring cup!
It’s been rainy in San Francisco and I swear I can feel the city slowing down and breathing a sigh of relief. I surprised myself yesterday with an urge to bake. I rarely feel that way. I gravitate towards cooking because I don’t love following recipes. I think they’re great for inspiration and to use as a guide, but I’m not precise. I’m a toss-it-together and never measure kinda gal, and that typically doesn’t go over so well when it comes to baking.
Behold! This tart requires no exacting recipe and is simple to make. The puff pastry dough (gloriously found in the freezer section of your grocery store) is your canvas. Use your favorite fruit(s), the goat cheese and the jelly are entirely optional. Or you could nix the fruit and just use jelly or preserves. Of course, I encourage you to try this idea first, tucking thinly sliced winter fruits into a puff pastry blanket with habanero pepper jelly and soft goat cheese. It’s teetering the line between savory and sweet, with a spicy nudge from the habanero pepper jelly. Dessert or breakfast? I say both.
1 package frozen puff pastry, defrosted
4 small tart apples, pears, and/or persimmons (mix and match)
5 ounces soft goat cheese
2-4 tablespoons habanero pepper jelly
2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, small-diced
Sugar and lemon juice, to taste
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
Cut puff pastry sheets however you’d like to serve them. I cut mine into three rectangles, but you could make individual tarts or one large tart.
Gently spread a layer of goat cheese onto the puff pastry dough, leaving a one-inch border, then top with a thin layer of habanero pepper jelly. If you don’t have the jelly and you like a hint of hot, you could mix a pinch of cayenne pepper with the goat cheese and then spread.
Peel the fruit and cut in half through the stem. Remove the stems and cores with a sharp knife. Slice the fruit crosswise in 1/4-inch-thick slices. Toss in a bowl with a squeeze of lemon juice and a bit of sugar.
Lay overlapping slices of fruit on top of the goat cheese and jelly. With damp fingers, fold the edges of the puff pastry to create a crust. Sprinkle the fruit and crust evenly with a dusting of sugar and dot with the butter.
Bake for about 40 minutes, until the pastry is browned and the edges of the fruit starts to brown. Remove the tarts from the sheet pan and serve warm.