Even though the ingredients are not unusual, nor exotic and their combination is not really surprising, this tart’s flavour is extraordinarily different. Sweet pears and slightly tart, grainy, fresh curd cheese filling create a unique combination. Since I hardly add any sugar and the pastry case doesn’t have it either, the tart is not overly sweet and be can easily served as a snack, for afternoon tea or for breakfast. I have been preparing it for so many years, unfortunately I can’t even remember the source of my recipe… I can only say it’s not a typically French fruit tart, since they are usually thinner, have less filling and curd cheese is definitely not a very French ingredient.
I know the unique taste and texture of this tart is largely due to the curd cheese, not available everywhere (in the countries where it is not widely used, Russian and Polish grocers sell it). Luckily, the curd cheese can be substituted with the almost universal cottage cheese. If you have to use the cottage cheese, drain it well, squash the big grains with a fork and add 100 ml sour cream or kefir (to add the slight tartness the curd cheese has). If using very dry curd cheese (such as the Hungarian one), add 200 ml liquid cream. The good news is this pie can be done with leftover yolks instead of whole eggs!
Preparation: 1 hour
Ingredients (for a standard 28 cm diameter pie dish):
1 puff pastry sheet (around 230 g)
500g curd cheese (or well drained cottage cheese, squashed with a fork and combined with 100 ml sour cream or kefir or “quark”, i.e. mixed, smooth fresh cheese)
4 tablespoons sugar
4 eggs or 5 yolks, or a combination of both
5 big or 7 smaller pears (not too ripe, they should stay firm after the baking stage)
2 tablespoons cinnamon or a mixture of cinnamon and ground clove
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Line a greased tart dish with the puff pastry and prick its bottom with a fork.
Cover the pastry case with a sheet of baking paper, cover with dry beans (to stop the pastry from raising) and blind – bake it (before it browns). Remove the baking paper and the beans and put the pastry case aside.
Peel the pears and discard the cores. Cut them into 8 pieces and put into a bowl of cold water mixed with some lemon juice (otherwise they might darken very quickly).
Combine the cheese with the eggs and the sugar.
Pour it over the baked pastry case.
Arrange the pear pieces on the top of the cheese mixture, the rounded part up.
Sprinkle with the cinnamon.
Bake in the oven until the tart’s top is slightly golden.
This tart should definitely be served warm. (If preparing in advance simply reheat it in the oven or a microwave before serving).