Pear Crostata with Honey, Blue Cheese, and Almonds

It's official!!! I have finally conquered my fear of working with dough. The other night, I made a nice meal for lobster's belated birthday, which was about two months ago...bad wifey. However, since I was making such a belated dinner, it had to kick ass...which this crostata did. I made this along with short ribs from "Sunday Night Suppers" by Suzanne Goin which were really nummy too.

This crostata was the perfect blend of sweet and savory. The flavor of the crust was amazing. It was perfectly light and flaky. The lemon zest really made the difference and took the crust to a whole new level. For my first attempt I would say it wasn't too bad.

I may have rolled my dough a little too thick b/c the end result was a little smaller then what the recipe stated. I have yet to figure out how to roll the dough into a perfect circle. Mine usually end up looking like funky shaped islands...can't figure out what I'm doing incorrectly. Anyway, it doesn't matter since I'm usually the only one who gets to see my funky dough so I just cut around the misperfections and no one is the wiser :D

I altered the recipe a tiny bit and eyeballed several of the ingredients. I didn't use all the honey in the recipe but simply drizzled what I thought looked right over the crostata. For the blue cheese I would use all the cheese called for in the recipe, if not more. But that's just me since roquefort is one of my favorites. If you are not a fan of strong, sharp cheeses I would be conservative with the amount you use. But for me, the stinkier the better :) I also only used about half the amount of pears I roasted. I was afraid the crust might get soggy if I used all the pears so I skimped a little. Oh well, just gives me another reason to make it again. Numm.

**I have updated the recipe and am now using the crust from my Butternut Squash Galette recipe.

Pear Crostata with Honey, Blue Cheese and Almonds
Adapted from Tyler Florence, Food Network

4 pears, halved, cored, but not peeled
1 tablespoons butter
4 ounces good-quality blue cheese, crumbled (Roquefort)
1/2 cup slivered almonds
3 tablespoons honey
1 recipe Basic Pie Pastry, chilled 30 minutes, recipe follows
1 egg, beaten with a drizzle of cold water
2 tablespoons turbinado sugar

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Arrange the pears, cut sides up, on a baking sheet and dot with butter. Put the baking sheet in the oven and bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until the pears are just tender. Let cool.
Increase the oven heat to 450 degrees F.
Sprinkle the counter and a rolling pin lightly with flour. Roll the dough out to a 14-inch round, about 1/4-inch thick. It doesn't have to be perfect. Transfer the dough to the back of a lightly floured baking sheet. Slice the pears and arrange them on the dough round by overlapping the slices in a spiral fashion, leaving a 2-inch border all around. Scatter blue cheese over the top, and sprinkle with the almonds.
Bring the edge of crust over onto the filling, leaving the fruit exposed in center. Gently fold and pinch the dough to seal any cracks and brush the crust with the egg wash and sprinkle with the sugar. Put the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 30 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the fruit is tender. Remove crostata from the oven and drizzle with the honey. Slide a knife under the crostata to loosen it from the pan. Then cut into wedges and serve warm or at room temperature.

Basic Pie Pastry:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
4 to 6 tablespoons ice-cold water

Pulse flour, butter, lemon zest, and sea salt in a food processor until mixture resembles coarse meal (very tiny pebbles of dough). Drizzle ice water evenly over mixture and pulse until it just forms a ball. (Do not overwork dough, or pastry will be tough.) Gently press dough into a 5-inch disk and chill, wrapped in plastic wrap, until firm, at least 1 hour.

**Even though it seems excessive you really should use 2 tablespoons of sugar for the crust.Also, next time I will try it with 2 tablespoons of lemon zest and perhaps the juice of half a lemon