Monday, December 13, 2010

Blue Cheese Tartlets with Honeyed Walnuts

I can't recall when exactly I became fond of blue cheese, but I know I was well into adulthood.  Blue cheese, like brussels sprouts, is something of an acquired taste.  It requires a certain aging of the taster as much as the cheese.  Like brussels sprouts, it is pretty much a take it or leave it proposition.  I doubt you'll find too many children who appreciate the tang of a good blue.

I particularly like blue cheese in salads with pears and walnuts.  The crisp sweetness of the pears is a perfect foil to the salty richness of the cheese.  A salad with arugula, pears, blue cheese, and walnuts lightly dressed with a vinaigrette is a perfect winter salad.  


The holiday season is one of potlucks and cocktail parties for many.  As my wife and I both teach--at different schools in different districts--the last days before winter breaks are often hectic with competing parties.  One annual party that we look forward to is a wine tasting that raises funds for local ESL teachers.  With school districts dismantling adult education programs (a bill passed several years ago allows school districts to continue to receive funding for adult education classes even though the districts no longer offer classes, siphoning the funds for K-12 classes) these are lean times for ESL instructors.  The annual wine tasting is an enjoyable event that also helps out a few people.

Once you have the shells made (and you could certainly use packaged phyllo cups instead), these are a snap to assemble and bake.  I made several variations, putting bacon in some, diced apples in others, some with membrillo  spread on the bottom, and the rest simply with the cheese and walnuts.  I think my favorite were the ones with the membrillo; the sweetness of the quince paste was a nice counterpart to the cheese.

To make these, fill pre-baked tartlet shells with several teaspoons of softened blue cheese mixed with cream or cream cheese.  Top with honeyed walnuts and bake at 350ยบ for eight to ten minutes.  Serve warm or at room temperature.  Bacon, pears, caramelized onions, or membrillo may be placed in the shells before adding the blue cheese mixture.


4 comments:

  1. These look scrumptious! What a great little appetizer. Thanks for sharing.

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  2. We love blue cheese in our household. Even my 7-year old loves it. He still doesn't like brussel sprouts, but I haven't given up hope!

    Anyhow, this looks delicious. I love the taste of melted blue. It's a little more mellow but still just as savory.

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  3. I had some of these and thought they were delicious--and so easy!

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  4. Definnitely going to try this. Love blue cheese and the tart is a festive appetizer for the season.

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