This recipe was first published in 2013, I've since updated it with more details and information.
A rich and impressive tart. Sweet pears and caramelized onions are made for goat cheese. This is a savoury onion and pear tart. Not a dessert. Goat cheese tart filling is creamy and herbal. The pastry is made with olive oil and whole wheat flour. I love serving this in the fall as a starter or part of a brunch table.
I've impressed myself. Look at this tart? It is impressive isn't it?
I've had a recipe for a Leek and Goat Cheese tart from an old Deborah Madison cookbook marked for ages now and I thought the goat cheese filling would be perfect with this olive oil-based crust.
I took the basic filling idea and changed it up a bit. Roasting the onions in the oven intensifies their flavours and brings out their sweetness. Plus it's an easy, hands-off way to cook them. I added pears because I had a few perfectly ripe pears sitting on the kitchen counter and I love pears with cheese. You could omit the pears, but ... I'd just go with it unless of course, you don't have any. Then, by all means, don't let the pears hold you up.
But if you are looking for things to do with some pears 🍐 - check out these cardamon and pear muffins, my favorite cranberry and pear baked oatmeal and this wheat berry lunch bowl, because it is fall and pears are at their peak ripeness.
How to make an easy olive oil pastry
I love this crust. The crust is made in the food processor and requires no kneading and no rolling. This is an olive oil pastry recipe.
No knead, no roll pastry! FTW!
I love that! And this pastry is vegan if you wanted to go that way with a different filling. Obviously this tart is not vegan, but I appreciate having this vegan pastry recipe tucked in my back pocket for when I would want a vegan tart.
Use a good quality extra virgin olive oil in the crust. Something with a fruity and bold flavour. The olive oil is a key flavour component for this pastry so use the good stuff.
Basically throw all the dry ingredients into a food processor and pulse a couple of times so everything is well mixed. Then drizzle in the olive oil - one tablespoons at time. Pulse after after each addition. The mixture will become crumbly
Add ice water -- the same way - one tablespoon at a time, pulsing after each addition. You will need at least 4 tablespoons of water. But maybe another 1-2 just to get the right texture.
How to check the pastry is ready
You will know you have added enough water when the pastry will form clumps when you press it together with your fingers. It will not form a ball in the machine and will stay soft.
At this point you can dump the pastry right into your tart shell and press it out to form a crust.
You can dump into a bowl or onto a sheet of plastic wrap and wrap it tightly and store in the fridge of up to two days.
You can even freeze it at this point for 3-4 months.
When you go to use it, just use your fingers to crumble the pastry as you press into the tart shell. It will be easier to press into the shell as it warms slightly to room temperature. And that is OKAY!
The best part of this pasty is it is so forgiving! No worries about tears or whole. Just push more dough to make everything even.
Notes about this recipe
Time: The tart itself does not bake all that long, but the components take some time to assemble so plan accordingly. You need to pre-bake the tart shell. So plan for that.
Pastry: The tart shell could be made a day or two ahead, baked and kept at room temperature until ready to assemble the tart.
Roasting the onions and pears: The onions and pears should be roasted the day you make the tart. I find when you roast them ahead of time they lose some of the flavours that you worked so hard to develop while they roasted in the oven.
Serving: I recommend this tart as a starter or sliced thinly as an appetizer. It would be a nice addition to a brunch table too. Best served warm or room temperature, I found it tastes even better the next day provided it has had time to get back to room temperature before serving.
Goat Cheese, Onion and Pear Tart
for the crust
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup whole-wheat flour (whole wheat pastry flour is best)
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 –6 tablespoons ice water
for the filling
- 1 average sized sweet onion such as Vidalia, quartered, skins left on
- 1 average sweet pear peeled and sliced into thin strips, about 12-16 slices.
- olive oil for drizzling over onions
- 6 oz soft goat cheese
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 2 teaspoons fresh savoury sage or thyme would also work nicely
- salt and pepper to taste
for the crust
- In the bowl of a food processor, add flours, sugar, salt and pulse to combine. Using the pulse function, add olive oil one tablespoon at a time, pulsing a few times after each addition, until mixture becomes crumbly and coarse.
- Now do the same with the ice water, adding 4 tablespoons of the ice water and continue to pulse until large clumps of dough form and no powdery bits remain, about 5 seconds. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of water only if the dough still seems to be dry and is not clumping together. Again, only 1 tablespoon at a time and pulse a few times after each addition. This is a soft dough, it will not form a ball, but should stick together in small bits when you press some together with your fingers. (At this point, you could store dough, covered tightly in plastic wrap, in the refrigerator for 2 days or freezer for up to 4 weeks)
- Dump dough into a 9-in tart pan with a removable bottom. Using your fingers push dough evenly over bottom and up the sides of the pan. Cover with plastic wrap. If needed, smooth the dough through the plastic wrap to even out any bumps. Place tart shell on a baking tray and freeze until firm, about 30 minutes.Preheat oven to 375.
- Remove plastic wrap from frozen tart and prick surface with a fork all over. This will prevent any air bubbles from puffing up the crust. Ensure to prick the sides in several places as well. Cover tart with heavy aluminum foil and fill with pie weights or dried beans (that you use only for baking pies).
- Bake on the middle rack for 30-40 minutes or until shell is golden brown and set. Allow to cool completely before filling and using. At this stage tart shell will keep at room temperature for 2 days.
for the filling
- Preheat oven to 400.
- Prepare onions by dusting off any dirt, cutting into quarters and placing on baking tray. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake until soft and slightly browned at the edges 30-40 minutes, depending on the size of the onions. Remove from oven and once cool enough to handle, remove tough outer layers and slice the soft remaining inside layers into slivers.
- For pears, peel and slice pears and place on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Add to the oven with the onions but watch carefully. Pears will be soft and fragrant after about 20 minutes. Don't let them dry out and burn. Remove from oven and remove any browned bits (often at the tops of the pears where the slices are narrow and thin).
to assemble tart
- Preheat oven to 400.
- In a medium bowl mash goat cheese until very soft and smooth. Add sour cream and egg and beat to combine. Add salt, pepper and fresh herbs. Spread evenly on bottom of pre-baked tart shell.
- Arrange onion slivers in a fan pattern around the tart, on top of the goat cheese mixture.
- Arrange pears in between the onion slices, evenly around the tart, 3-4 slices per quarter of pie.
- Bake at 400 for about 30 minutes or until goat cheese has puffed up and browned.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.
- Can be made a day ahead. Bring back to room temperature before serving.