These adorable gorgonzola and pear tartlets are the perfect holiday appetizer for many reasons.
For starters, you get a serious headstart on your appetizer game with frozen phyllo tart shells. Straight from the freezer, the pie shells take no more than 6 minutes to brown up nicely in the oven. This pre-baking step is called blind baking. That’s a fancy term for baking a pie shell without any filling. If you’ve ever made a fruit tart, you’ve probably blind-baked before!
Once your tart shells are crisp and just golden, they’re ready for their savory gorgonzola and pear filling. This step is the only real working step in the recipe, and it doesn’t get much easier. Simply combine all of the filling ingredients: Litehouse® Simply Artisan Gorgonzola Cheese, diced pear, chopped pecans and cream cheese.
A few notes on the gorgonzola and pear filling. First, be sure to dice your pear up nice and small. If you can’t find a red pear, any variety will work. Red pears tend to hold up well during baking, but another pear won’t cause any disasters.
Second, things are a bit easier if you let the cream cheese soften. Let it come to room temperature for easier mixing. You can also buy cream cheese spread, which comes in a tub and tends to be softer than cream cheese sticks.
And finally, I recommend taking a minute to toast your pecans. You can pop them in the oven while the tartlet shells bake. Keep an eye on the nuts and take them out when they show signs of browning. Nuts can burn easily because of the oils inside. And remember, they’ll keep cooking after you remove them from the oven. Toasted nuts just seem to have more flavor than raw, and they pair so well with, well, pears. You can also look for roasted unsalted pecans in the store to skip toasting at home.
Now, all that’s left to do for your gorgonzola and pear mini tartlets is mix everything and fill your pre-baked tart shells. The flakey phyllo dough is delicate and can break easily, so use a gentle hand here. I like to form individual disks with the cheese filling and pop each into a pie shell. The filling should be pretty stiff and moldable, so you can press it gently to fill the shells.
Pop the filled tartlets into the oven until they’re golden, melty and ready for proud display at your holiday party. Be sure to save yourself one (or a few)—they won’t last long!