A Welcome-to-Spring "Picnic"

By: Stella BlackmonClementine Daily

The first signs of spring are ever enchanting. After weeks of gray days, celebrate the alluring preview of warm days to come with a midday indoor picnic. Let the crisp notes of lemon and jasmine of Caldrea’s Pear Blossom Agave fragrance inspire a menu of seasonal hors d'oeuvres and refreshing drinks.  

Instead of a traditional table setting, try a colorful linen throw or picnic blanket and a table lined with succulents. Arrange pitchers of sparkling lemonade, spiced with springs of mint and thyme, and glass goblets next to platters of hors d'oeuvres. Savory Pear & Goat Cheese Tarts, baked minutes before guests arrive, guarantee a crowd-pleasing snack. Feeding more than just a few guests? Prepare an arugula and honeydew salad, drizzled with olive oil, lime juice and salt and pepper. To round out the menu you might also prepare macerated strawberries, blanched asparagus, orzo pasta and pan-seared brussels sprouts.

The simple, yet thoughtful gathering will provide the right amount of spring-inspired excitement to soak in the upcoming blooming season. 

Pear & Goat Cheese Tarts

Ingredients

1 sheet puff pasty, thawed
2 cored pears, thinly sliced
1/2 cup goat cheese, crumbled
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp fresh thyme, plus sprigs for garnish
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp agave nectar
1 tsp sea salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400º. Cut puff pastry into 4 equal pieces. Toss pears in lemon juice.
  2. Place puff pastry on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle crumbled goat cheese on each piece.
  3. Arrange pear slices on goat cheese, allowing each slice to overlap the other.  Leave ½ inch of the pastry exposed around the edge of each tart. Top with leftover goat cheese crumbles.
  4. Combine melted butter and thyme. Brush the top of the pears and the exposed puff pastry. Sprinkle generously with sea salt.
  5. Bake for 13 minutes or until edges are crispy and golden brown.
  6. Remove from the oven and then drizzle with agave nectar. Garnish with leftover thyme sprigs. Serve warm.