In my opinion, it is high time to modernize the ubiquitious cranberry and brie appetizer. The combo of sweet, salty, tart (and how easy it is to cook) are what makes it the ultimate in entertaining go-to recipes but it's a little expected. So, for our latest Friends Who Fete party we made a modern twist on that recipe by folding in sage pears and topping it with hot honey, pomegranate seeds, and citrus zest.
seeded if you want it less spicy, for garnish
For the pear filling: Heat the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook until translucent, about 3 minutes, then add in the sage leaves and pears and cook until the pears are just tender, about 2 minutes. Set aside until cool enough to handle then discard the sage leaves.
For the tarts: Heat the oven to 350°F and arrange the rack in the middle. Fill each tart with a small spoonful of each cranberry sauce, cheese, and pears. Bake until the tarts are golden brown and cheese is melty, about 20 to 25 minutes.
For the hot honey: Meanwhile, in a small saucepan bring the honey to a low boil. Add the jalapenos and cook one minute longer. Remove from the heat.
Store the hot honey in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week. Warm before serving.
For serving: When the tarts are ready, arrange them on a serving tray then drizzle the hot honey among them all, scatter the pomegranate seeds on top, then grate the mandarin zest over the tarts and serve.