This Thanksgiving we did something different. Instead of having scads of traditional food with huge amounts of leftovers, we went with smaller, slightly different, dishes. Such as the Vermont Cheddar Soup, and this dish, Pear, Pecorino, and Walnut Galette. That way, we thought, we could have dishes that seemed more elegant, but wouldn’t have to deal with many so leftovers. Good idea? We’ll leave that for you, fellow scratcher, to decide.
There really isn’t much to this dish, and not too much as to how we came up with it. We liked the idea of a galette, and we thought that pears, along with a sharp sheep’s milk cheese (Pecorino Romano) would go well together. Then, because they’re always good, we figured we’d toss in a few walnuts.
We will say that the photos show something different from the instructions. Since we just went by the seat of our pants on this one, we learned a few things, which are reflected in the directions.
Quick Puff Pastry is light and flaky and easy. Don’t be intimidated; you can make it, and you’ll be glad you did for this dish. Choose a ripe pear. Sure, you’ll bake it, so it will get soft, but the sweetness is needed to contrast with the saltiness of the Pecorino Romano. If you don’t have, or want, Pecorino Romano available, choose another strong-flavored salty cheese, perhaps Fontina.
Procedure in detail:
Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment for easy cleanup.
Roll crusts. Place the crust on a floured surface and roll to about an eighth of an inch thick. Using a large circular cutter, make six approximately 4-inch circles. Transfer the circles to your prepared sheet, and save the excess crust for another use. (In a pinch, we simply bake it up with a sprinkle of cinnamon and sugar.)
Freeze. Place the pan with the crusts in the freezer for 15 minutes. This will help keep them from puffing right under the filling. After all, if they puff in the middle, the crusts will push the filling off onto the baking sheet. Besides, you need to dice the pear.
Dice pear. Peel, core, and dice the pear. We find it easiest to peel the pear, then quarter it, followed by the removal of the core with a sharp knife. After that, simply slice and dice.
Fill crusts. Use a vegetable peeler and shave Pecorino Romano onto the crusts; about 2-3 hearty shavings should be enough. Place a walnut half on top, then cover with about 2 tablespoons of diced pear. Finish up with a good grating of black pepper. You could add just a pinch of salt, if desired, although with the cheese, it’s not really needed.
Bake. Place in the oven and bake for about 30 to 40 minutes, rotating front to back halfway through, or until the crust is golden brown and puffed and everything is heated through.
Serve. Get these out to the diners immediately; they cool quickly, and the crust loses some crispy flakiness as they cool.
Perfect for part of our Thanksgiving dinner. We even had room for, nope, not pie, but cake, for dessert; plus, we only had two galettes left over (they warm nicely in the oven). We did learn that Pecorino Romano doesn’t melt very well, but it does taste delicious, so we’re moving it to the bottom of the galette. We also put our walnut halves on top where they got a tad over-baked, so they should go under the pear. Even so, these are delicious and simple. Five easy stars.