45. Stilton, pear & poppy seed tartlets

Home Cooking Made Easy p171

I thought I was doing well with the ingredients for this recipe. I obviously had poppy seeds from when I made the bread rolls. Oh. I didn’t, did I? I made do with black sesame seeds. Ah well.

My second mistake was to buy Tesco value pears. They are tiny and were pretty hard, though Lorraine stipulated “perfectly ripe.” Actually, since they are being cooked a bit, it doesn’t really matter if they’re not quite ripe.

Apart from my minor ingredient errors, this is an incredibly simple recipe to make. Roll out puff pastry (or use ready-rolled) and cut into 6 rectangles. Stick them in the fridge to firm up a bit. Peel the pears (3 of them) and cut them in half lengthways. Remove the core with a Parisienne scoop or apple corer. A what? I definitely don’t have an apple corer, but I suppose I could have a Parisienne scoop – I wouldn’t know how to recognise one. I improvised with a sharp knife and a carefully deployed teaspoon. Brush with some lemon juice to stop them going brown.

Now Lorraine says “slice each pear across into 1cm thick slices,” which is not the clearest instruction, and there are no pictures. I’m pretty sure she means you to keep the pear in one piece attached at the top and slice lengthways, like this:

Now brush the pastry with beaten egg (but keep it off the sides, as that would stop it rising). Crumble some stilton on each, and top with a pear, fanned out. Then crumble some more stilton around. Brush each with a bit of honey.

Bake for about 15 minutes, then scatter with chives, poppy seeds (or black sesame seeds!) and a drizzle of olive oil, and serve with salad.

I may be biased as I’m having a huge cheese obsession at the moment, but I thought these were a fantastic lunch dish. We ate three in the cookingfanatic household, and I have frozen three uncooked for another time.

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