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Pear and Stinking Bishop cheese tarts

by Valentine Warner
from What to Eat Now

Makes 6

Preparation time 30 mins to 1 hour

Cooking time 30 mins to 1 hour

You will need 6 x 10cm/4in deep, loose-based tart tins.

For the pastry
250g/9oz plain flour
25g/1oz caster sugar
150g/5oz chilled butter, cut into cubes
1 large free-range egg, lightly beaten
For the filling
25g/1oz butter
3 small dessert pears, (such as Conference), peeled, quartered, core removed, sliced
1 tsp caster sugar
1 large free-range egg
1 large free-range egg yolk
284ml/10fl oz single cream
100g-125g/3½oz-4½oz Stinking Bishop or Roquefort cheese, rind removed, chopped into small cubes
salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. For the pastry, place the flour and sugar into a food processor with the butter and blend using the pulse setting, until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
2. Add the egg and blend until the mixture just comes together as a dough.
3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board, divide into six equal pieces and roll each into a ball. Roll out each ball of dough to line six 10cm/4in deep loose-based tart tins. Trim the excess pastry from the edges, then press around the sides gently until the pastry extends 2.5cm/1in above the edge of each tin. Place onto a baking tray and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
4. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
5. Line the tart tins with small sheets of baking parchment. Fill the lined tarts with baking beans or uncooked rice and bake blind for 20 minutes.
6. Carefully remove the baking beans or rice and discard the baking parchment from the tarts and return to the oven to bake for a further 2-3 minutes, or until the pastry is golden-brown and just cooked. Remove from the oven and set aside.
7. Reduce the oven temperature to 180C/360F/Gas 4.
8. For the filling, melt the butter in a frying over a medium heat. Add the pears and fry for 1-2 minutes, until lightly browned.
9. Add the sugar and cook the pears for a further 1-2 minutes, until caramelised and golden-brown. Transfer to a plate and leave to cool for a few minutes.
10. Whisk the egg, egg yolk and cream together in a bowl. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
11. Place equal amounts of the pear slices and pieces of the cheese loosely into the pastry cases (don't overfill the tart cases).
12. Pour the egg and cream mixture into each tart until it reaches almost the top of the pastry.
13. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes or until the filling is just set - it should wobble a little.
14. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 20 minutes before serving.