As a big-time supporter of eating what’s in season, this recipe is a celebration of early autumn pears. Beautiful big-bottomed pears are sliced thinly and layered on a bed of velvety parsnip crème and all-butter puff pastry. Baked until golden and puffed, the tarts are finished with a scattering of honey-walnuts and crumbled goats cheese and chervil. Simple, seasonal, and tasty. Enjoy.
1 sheet good quality all-butter puff pastry, thawed if frozen
2 large parsnips, chopped into small dice
½ tbsp cream cheese
½ tsp lemon juice
Freshly ground black pepper
2-3 pears, sliced thinly
¼ cup walnuts
2 tbsp honey
½ tbsp olive oil
Good quality goats cheese, for crumbling over the top
Extra honey, for drizzling
Chervil, for garnish
Preheat over to 180C
For the parsnip crème, fill a medium saucepan with water and add the chopped parsnip. Bring to the boil then reduce heat and simmer until parsnip is tender, approx. 10-15 minutes. Drain.
Put cooked parsnip into the bowl of a food processor – or a bowl if you wish to mash by hand – add the cream cheese, lemon juice, and a pinch of sea salt. Process – or mash – until well combined and smooth*. Season to taste and set aside.
Lay out the puff pastry on a clean workspace. Cut the sheet in half and lightly prick the centres of the pastry. Smear the parsnip crème onto the pastry pieces, making sure to leave a 1cm border. Arrange the pear slices onto the pastry so that they overlap a little. Using a pastry brush lightly coat the border of the pastry with oil. Drizzle a little extra olive oil over the pears and pop into the preheated oven to cook for 20 or so minutes, until the pastry is puffed and golden and the pears have cooked.
Meanwhile, add the walnuts to a fry pan and toast over a medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Add the oil and honey and stir until well coated. Remove from heat and set aside.
Take tarts out of the oven and crumble over some goats cheese. Drizzle with some extra honey and garnish with honeyed walnuts and chervil. Serve hot or cold.
*If mashing by hand, the mix will not be as smooth. Don’t worry,you’ll just have to embrace the ‘rustic’ quality of the final product.