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by Gazette staff

Food Forum

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Pear and Brie tart

We all know about the La Brea Tar Pits.

In downtown Los Angeles, it’s where black, bubbling, sticky stuff called asphaltum has been oozing from the ground for more than 10,000 years.

During prehistoric times, saber-toothed cats and other animals got their feet and legs stuck in the goop, fell down and died. Scientists have discovered more than 1 million bones in the pits. In 1914, they even found human remains. They call her La Brea Woman, and she was in her twenties when she got tarred.

In recent weeks, inspired by this odd L.A. attraction, I’ve been making an appetizer that’s perfect to serve during the holidays, when your favorite mammals drop in.

“Le Brie Pear Pit” is a cheese and fruit tart, drizzled with balsamic vinegar, baked in a rustic pastry crust and served warm and gooey.

I found the recipe, which I renamed and restyled, on the Troy Waterfront Farmers Market web site,, under “Fun Stuff.”

Take it to a party or bring the ingredients to a gathering and assemble it there.

Who doesn’t like warm brie?

Le Brie Pear Pit
1 premade pie dough circle from the supermarket
1 large ripe pear, cored and thinly sliced
8 ounces brie, thinly sliced
1⁄2 red onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1⁄2 teaspoon dried thyme

Remove pie dough from refrigerator and bring to room temperature. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Unroll dough and place on a cookie sheet. Fold sides in to form a shallow “dish.”

Place the pear, brie and onion slices inside the “pit,” alternating and overlapping the ingredients.

Sprinkle with vinegar and thyme.

Bake for 30 minutes or until the crust is golden.

Serve warm from the oven.

Guests can cut their own small wedges using a knife and small spatula or pie server.


After the Thanksgiving feast, when it’s time to make that big pot of turkey soup, head to the Troy Waterfront Farmers Market, where you can pick up carrots and other root vegetables grown at local farms.
Held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Saturday in the Uncle Sam Atrium, Troy’s indoor winter market is the largest in the Capital Region, with more than 80 vendors on two floors.

Parking is free in the nearby Uncle Sam Parking Garage.

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