Puff pastry tarts with pear and cranberry

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I rarely make resolutions in January, and this year was no exception.

It just seems to me that real change only happens when you finally reach a moment where it becomes obvious that the change needs to be made. I could write down a thousand times to eat fewer cookies (which, by the way, will never, ever be a resolution of mine), but the truth is that I’ll eat salad when I’m craving a damn salad, and not because of some notes on a paper.

Puff pastry tarts with pear and cranberry

A couple years ago, I’d been in a kind of strange race against myself, constantly trying to work more, host more, cook more, until one day I just realized how absurd it all was. I’d been seeing my friends more than ever, and having them over for dinner on a regular basis, but was putting so much effort and time into the cooking and the cleaning that I was barely able to hold a conversation with my guests. I felt like some kind of demented Stepford housewife, only with a day job to boot.

I knew that I needed to start doing less, much less, and since then I’ve become pretty good at it.

I tend to have dinners where I serve food I’ve already cooked earlier (for work), or I host potlucks, or I buy takeout or frozen pizza. I think as a food blogger, I am supposed to experience some regret or embarrassment about this, but I relish this decision, and will purchase frozen pizza ’til the day I die if it means I get to spend more time enjoying the company of my loved ones.

It’s easy to lose sight of this sometimes in the desire to prepare a nice meal for the people who matter to us — and once in a while, I will host a whole dinner from scratch. But the thing is, the kitchen is not a sentient being. Your appliances are never going to like you, converse with you, or offer you a hug during hard times. Better, then, to spend the time out of the kitchen and into the world, with laughter, wine, and frozen pizza.


That being said, my desire to ‘do less’ has (as you might have guessed) an exception: dessert.

I can’t help it — I’m hooked.

Over the holidays, I began brainstorming ways to have my cake, eat it too, and have ample time to socialize. I wanted to make a dessert that was easy and quick, and could be thrown together without too much hands-on time. These puff pastry tarts with pear and cranberry were the answer.

Thanks to the miracle that is store-bought puff pastry dough, these buttery little wonders come together in just a few minutes. Just roll out the dough, stuff it in a muffin tin, and warm up some seasonal fruit on the stove. Pop it in the oven and voilà, the crisp, warm tarts are ready to be demolished. Pear and cranberry worked well for me because they were seasonal and what I had on hand, but feel free to try with any fruit of your choosing.

Puff pastry tarts with pear and cranberry

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Yield: 18 tarts

A quick and easy way to serve dessert for a crowd, and perfect for the fall or winter.


  • 450g package of frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • zest and juice of 1 clementine
  • 1 Tablespoon Triple Sec or Cointreau (or orange juice, for a non-alcoholic alternative)
  • 3 large Anjou or Bosc pears (~775g), chopped into half-inch chunks.
  • 2 Tablespoons of butter
  • pinch of salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 425F. Grease two muffin tins and set aside.
  2. In a large pot, combine all the ingredients but the puff pastry. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 3 minutes, or until the pears just begin to soften. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Roll your puff pastry sheets into two large squares -- you'll want to divide each sheet into nine smaller squares, each large enough to line a muffin cup. (If your puff pastry has been pre-rolled, simply slice each sheet into nine equal squares.)
  4. Gently place the puff pastry squares into the muffin tins. Using a slotted spoon (so that the filling isn't too wet), divide the cranberry and pear filling equally amongst the 18 puff pastry squares.
  5. Bake at 425F for 20-30 minutes. Pastry is done when it's puffed and golden at the edges.
  6. Allow the pastries to cool just slightly, until they aren't too hot to handle, then remove them from the muffin tin by running a knife along the edges and popping them out with your fingers.
  7. They taste great on their own, but a little whipped cream or vanilla ice cream never hurt anyone. 🙂

Are there any time-saving desserts or meals you really love? Let me know in the comments!



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3 Responses to “Puff pastry tarts with pear and cranberry”

  1. Julia (@Imagelicious) September 17, 2015 at 12:25 PM #

    I feel exactly the same way. As a Food Blogger, I feel guilty using mixes. I used to feel like I hadto apologize when I used them, until I realized that it was crazy! I love using store-bought puff pastry (from President’s Choice since it’s already rolled) and I buy mixes for pancakes, beer bread, brownies etc too. Usually from HomeSense as I find they have “fun” mixes with good ingredients.

    • toughcookie September 23, 2015 at 1:33 PM #

      You’re so right, Julia. I feel like there’s always this pressure to cook everything from scratch, but a little shortcut here and there never hurt anyone, especially if it’s in the name of spending more time with loved ones.

  2. Florence January 12, 2015 at 5:01 PM #

    These sound wonderful, especially the part where you buy the puff pastry. As you know, I am not a fan of preparing pastry myself. I will definitely try these.
    Love, F