Poached Pear and Goat Cheese Tart with Figs and Red Wine Caramel

2 red pears
2 cups white grape juice
½ cup sugar
1 cinnamon stick

Red Wine Caramel
1 ½ cups sugar
¼ cup water
¾ cup fruity red wine, like a Pinot noir
   
Pastry Filling
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
4 ounces goat cheese, room temperature
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 egg yolk, reserve white for egg wash
   
1 package frozen puff pastry
Fresh figs

Peel pears, slice in half, and remove cores and stems. Slice pears lengthwise, about ½-inch thick. In a saucepan, add the pears, grape juice, ½-cup sugar and cinnamon stick. Cook over medium-low heat to a gentle, constant simmer. Cook until pears are tender, about 45 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
While the pears are poaching, prep the remaining components.

Red Wine Caramel: Heat sugar with ¼-cup of water over medium-high heat. To avoid crystallization try not to stir with a spoon; instead, give the pan a shake back and forth over heat to agitate the syrup. Cook until a deep golden color. Remove from heat and slowly whisk in red wine a little at a time. Return to low heat to dissolve any caramel that may have hardened. Set aside.

Pastry Filling: Beat cream cheese, goat cheese, sugar and egg yolk with an electric mixer until smooth.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pull sheets of puff pastry from the freezer and allow to sit out for 1 minute to soften slightly. Using a 3 ½-inch round biscuit cutter, cut out 12 circles. In 6 of the circles use a 2-inch cutter to punch out the center to make rings. Place rings of dough on top of the remaining 6 circles and gently press together. If biscuit cutters are unavailable to you, cut puff pastry into 4-inch squares.

Using just a single layer for each, pull the sides of the dough in about ½-inch and pinch corners together to make a box shape. Transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet and set in the freezer for at least 15 minutes. Pull sheet pan from freezer and immediately place in oven. Bake tarts for 8 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for about 1 minute. Brush edges of tarts with reserved egg white. In the center of the tarts, spoon in the goat cheese mixture, gently pressing down the air pocket. Return to oven and bake for another 8-10 minutes, or until golden brown. Tarts can be served right out of the oven or at room temperature.

To serve: Top the tarts with warm pears and slices of fresh figs. Drizzle a little red wine caramel over top.


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