Caution: This post contains multiple pictures of creamy, oozing, dripping and bubbling….cheese! If you’re a cheese lover like me, then this won’t be a deterrent, but rather an open invitation to ogle some of the best artisan- produced delicacies from the country’s longest continually-operating creamery: Marin French Cheese Company.
A couple of weeks ago, I was out at the “Cheese Factory” as the locals call it, and gleaned (with permission of course!) some beautifully ripe Bartlett Pears that were going to rot away otherwise. These lovelies were fragrant and firm, yet ripe and full of sweet juice. Perfect for baking or cooking, or simply eating with a piece of cheese and a crusty baguette. Well, seeing as I was at one of the best creameries in the county, and due to the fact that I have a wee bit of a love affair with Marin French’s Petite Camembert, I figured why not combine these two flavors into a tart? Because as you all know, I’m a sucker for a tart- like this one here or this one.
And the other amazing ingredient that totally makes this combination sing is the raw honey used on the base of the tart. This golden sticky sweetness is absolutely delicious and actually comes from the beehives on the creamery’s property. It’s harvested, jarred and then sold at the creamery’s cheese shop for all to enjoy under the Bonnie Bee and Company label. Bonnie is Marin County’s local expert on all things bee-related and she manages the hives for Marin French Cheese.
Talk about a taste of terroir and showcasing the bounty of this diverse region. Three of the ingredients in this recipe are from the Marin French property, and the pasture-raised eggs from Coastal Hill Farm and the butter are from Petaluma. You can’t eat more local than this folks.
So, onto tart-making and more cheese-y pictures (couldn’t resist!) to make your mouth water and hopefully inspire you to stop into Marin French on your next outing in West Marin. Experience the hospitality of this now-151-year-old creamery while sampling an array of delicious soft-ripened cow’s milk cheeses and see why they are truly a California original.
Pear, Camembert & Honey Tart
Yields one 9.5″ tart. Serves 6-8. | Pear- Camembert- Honey Tart PDF
For Tart Crust (Pâte Brisée):
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup sugar
pinch of fine sea salt
1/3 cup butter, cut into small pieces
4-6 tablespoons of cold water
Sift both flours, sugar and salt over a large bowl. Rub butter into flour with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs. Add the egg, then cold water, one tablespoon at a time, until you can combine all ingredients into a soft dough (you may not need all of the water).
Gently bring dough together to form a large disc, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes in the freezer.
4-6 pears, half peeled, the other half with skins on; sliced into 1/4″ slices
Zest of one lemon + 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 wheels (4 oz. ea.) Marin French Petite Camembert, sliced into thin pieces
1 jar (2 oz.) raw honey (I used local producer Bonnie Bee and Company)
Extra honey for drizzling over tart before baking
Preheat oven to 375F. Roll out chilled dough and carefully fit into tart pan. Roll a rolling pin over the top of the pan to remove excess dough and achieve a clean, even edge. Dock dough, fill with parchment paper and pie weights and bake for 15-16 minutes until bottom crust is fully baked through.
Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly. While still warm, spread honey across bottom of tart to allow it to melt and spread easily across the bottom. Set aside.
Peel half of the pears, leaving the other half with peels on. Slice into 1/4 inch slices and carefully toss with lemon juice and lemon zest; set aside.
Slice Camembert into thin wedges or slices and arrange over the honey-covered crust in a single layer. Then stand pear slices on top of cheese (versus laying them down or fanning out) alternating between a peeled slice and non-peeled slice to create the two-tone effect on the finished tart. Fill in the tart in a circular pattern. Drizzle 1-2 teaspoons of remaining honey over tart. Bake at 375F for 15-18 minutes or just until cheese melts and begins to bubble. Allow to cool slightly, slice and serve warm as a dessert with ice cream or at room temperature on a cheeseboard. Pairs beautifully with a Late Harvest Riesling, fruit-forward white Rhône blend, Unoaked Chardonnay or Wheat Beer. A hard sparkling pear or apple cider would be great too! Enjoy :>)
Note: this was not a sponsored post. I just happen to *love* this cheese! All ingredients were purchased by me (with the exception of rescuing the fallen pears) and all photographs, thoughts and opinions are my own.