Although I have been enjoying the pumpkins and winter squash a lot lately, I was ready for a bit of a change and that got me to thinking about other fall produce that I enjoy. Pears are one that I have regularly but I rarely seem to use them in recipes and now was the perfect opportunity to do so! I still needed something for breakfasts for the week and that reminded me of the pear and gorgonzola omelette that I had enjoyed so much last year and I recalled thinking that it would also be nice in quiche form at the time. I simply could not resist the idea of using one of my favourite flavour combinations, pear and gorgonzola, so I had my breakfast idea, a pear and gorgonzola quiche.
I figured it would not be all that fun to be biting into your light and fluffy quiche only to hit a rock hard piece of pear so I wanted to cook the pear a bit before putting it into the quiche. There are a few ways to do this and although poaching the pears crossed my mind I went with a simpler solution and I just sauteed the pear in some butter and brown sugar until tender. The sweetness added by caramelizing the pears like this goes surprisingly well with the pear and tangly gorgonzola combo in eggs. Next up, I wanted something salty to balance things out and diced pancetta sounded like they would do the trick nicely. I also wanted to work a nut into the quiche somehow but I did not like the sound of biting into nuts in a quiche so I decided to replace some of the flour in my my all butter crust with ground walnuts.
The caramelized pear and gorgonzola quiche turned out amazingly well! The pear and gorgonzola flavour combo proved once again why it is a classic and it worked really well in a quiche. Caramelizing the pears first added a nice hint of sweetness that was balanced by the salty pancetta. Most of all, I really enjoyed the way that the ground walnuts worked in the butter pastry crust and I will definitely have to remember to try adding nuts to future pie crusts like this.
Caramelized Pear and Gorgonzola Quiche
- 1/4 cup pancetta or bacon, diced
- 1 large shallot, diced
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 pears, cored and sliced into bite sized pieces
- 4 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 cup half and half
- 1/2 teaspoon thyme
- 1/2 cup gorgonzola or other blue cheese, crumbled
- 1 pre-baked walnut butter pie crust (see below)
- Cook the pancetta and shallot in a pan.
- Add the butter and let it melt.
- Add the sugar and cook until bubbly, about 3 minutes.
- Add the pear and saute until tender, about 3-5 minutes.
- Mix the pears, eggs, half and half, thyme and gorgonzola and pour it into the pre-baked pie crust.
- Bake in a preheated 375F/190C oven until golden brown on top and set in the center, about 25-45 minutes.
Walnut Butter Pie Crust (Pâte Brisée)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup ground walnuts (toasted before ground)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 8 tablespoons (1/2 cup or 1 stick) unsalted butter (cold, cut into 1/2 inch cubes)
- 4-5 tablespoons water (cold)
- Pulse the flour, ground walnuts, salt and sugar in a food processor to mix.
- Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles a coarse meal, about 6-8 times.
- Add a tablespoon of water at a time pulsing in between until it starts to clump together.
- Place the dough on a clean surface and shape it into a disc.
- Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour.
- Roll the dough into a 12 inch circle about 1/8 of an inch thick on a lightly floured surface.
- Place the dough into a 9 inch diameter spring form pan with the edges going up the side of the pan.
- Place a piece of parchment paper in the pie and fill it with rice or beans to hold it down.
- Bake in a preheated 350F/180C oven for 15 minutes.
- Remove the parchment paper and weight and poke the bottom of the crust with a fork a few times.
- Bake until a light golden brown, about 10 minutes.
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