I learned just a few weeks ago about this delightful food combination that I had never thought of before. You know the kind of flavors that just seem to go together – you’ve got Peanut Butter and Jelly, Tomatoes and Basil, Liver and Onions, Bananas and Nuts, Truffles and well… anything.
Butternut squash and pear was a new one for me. I’ve heard of some kitchens putting pears and blue cheese or gorgonzola together on a pizza, but nothing ever with butternut squash and pears until now.
Taking the combination of those three, the squash, pear, and blue cheese, I dreamed up this dish. I wanted something with a little crust, but not like a pizza – I wanted the pear and squash to be the star, not the crust. The crust still has to be good though!
Ahoy! Come with me on the journey of the Butternut Squash & Pear Tart! First, the ingredients:
Here’s where things deviate a bit. Yes! We’re deviating already. After making this (for the first time), I learned that it might be easier to first divide the dough into six equal portions, and THEN roll them out. I just don’t have a big enough rolling space here, it would have been so much easier.
A long time ago, my mom gave me these cute little tart tins. Aren’t they just darling!? You can find them online; the one’s I’ve got are 4 inches in diameter.
Make your edges all nice and neat.
Then prick the bottoms of the crusts with a fork a few times, and stick them in the oven for about 5-10 minutes on 350F, until the crust is just slightly golden brown. We don’t want them too brown, because they’re going back in.
Now we’re getting to the meat of the recipe – we’ve got to process this gourd.
I was going to save this picture for the “vegetable stock” post, but I fear that it will never happen, so just put this in a ziploc bag, and toss it in the freezer. When you’ve got enough veggie trimmings to fill the bag, toss it in a pot, fill with water, and let ‘er rip!
Now for the fun stuff!
Cute wittle seed! Aww! I should have saved them and roasted them, but there’s just not enough time in the day.
Now that the squash is in manageable sections, get busy with that knife of yours!
See this guy? The skin goes in that scraps bag with the butternut squash skin. Trust me.
Now the hard part is over. Get the butter ready.
Get your thyme ready.
The onions and thyme goes in the pan to get “happy” as Emeril would say. Let them go on medium heat until they’re …. happy (or translucent).
Open the wine and pour yourself a glass. Set aside for later use.
Now it’s the squash’s turn.
Look at the caramelization going on there!
Time to deglaze the pan, and reduce the wine a bit.
Then add in the chicken stock, and bring to a boil. Sprinkle (yes, it’s important that you sprinkle) the flour over the mixture, and make sure it’s well combined so the mixture can thicken.
Now for the pears. Only use one. I don’t know why there are two here.
Process the pear.
The melon baller is probably the most used tool yet still under-rated in my kitchen. It’s great for scooping just about anything! Those edges are sharp enough to get the job done!
Turn the heat off from under the skillet, then add the pears.
Now, mix your eggs, cream, and blue cheese, then add to the mixture.
I hope you were keeping your eye on those tart shells while you’ve been busy chopping…
Now it’s time to fill them!
Put them back in the oven for about 20-30 minutes until the eggs in the mixture are set, and the crusts are a nice golden brown.
Enjoy the fruits of your labor (and pour yourself another glass of wine)!!
Butternut Squash & Pear Tarts
3 T. Butter
1 Onion, diced
1 Md. Butternut Squash, peeled & cubed
1 Bosc Pear, cored & cubed
1 T. Fresh Thyme
½ C. White Wine
½ C. Chicken or Vegetable Stock
3 T. Flour
2 oz. Blue Cheese, crumbled
2 Eggs, beaten
2 T. Heavy Cream
1 Pie Crust (enough for top and bottom)
*Special Equipment – tart tins
Pre-heat oven to 350º. Divide pie crust into 6 equal portions. Roll each out in the shape of a circle, and fit into the tart tins, trimming off excess dough from the sides. Prick the bottoms of the tart shells with a fork to eliminate puffing during baking. Place on a cookie sheet large enough to hold them all, and place them in the oven until golden brown, about 5-10 minutes. Sauté butter and onions over medium heat until the onions become translucent, about 10 minutes. Turn the heat up to high, and add the butternut squash and thyme. Cook, stirring occasionally until the squash becomes slightly softened and carmelized, about 3-5 minutes. Add in the wine, and reduce for about 3 minutes, then add the chicken stock, and reduce again, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle in the flour, and mix until the mixture thickens, then remove from heat. Add in the pears. Mix the egg, cream, and blue cheese in a separate bowl, then add to the vegetable mixture, and mix well. Divide mixture into the tart shells, and bake for 20 – 30 minutes, until the eggs are set, and the crust is a nice golden brown.