Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Blue Cheese Baked Pears

The highlight of our last tasting at Quince: these luscious Anjou pears stuffed with blue cheese, cranberries, and walnuts -- basted with cider-port sauce. We even managed to convert a tentative cheese eater with a new French boyfriend (she attended the tasting on the sly, while he was out of town).

Because blue cheese makes some people nervous, we selected a mild temptress, Bleu d'Auvergne. However, you could ramp up the blue flavor by using Stilton in this recipe. Serve these pears on a bed of greens at Thanksgiving -- that's my plan. They are a little bit salad, a little bit dessert, with a nod to the world of stuffing. Perfect.

Blue Cheese Baked Pears
            Adapted from a recipe by Ina Garten

            3 ripe Anjou pears
            ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
            3 oz. crumbled blue cheese
            ¼ c. dried cranberries
            ¼ c. walnut halves, toasted, chopped
            ½ cup apple cider
            3 Tablespoons port
            1/3 cup light brown sugar
            ¼ cup olive oil
            6 oz. baby arugula or spinach

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Toss toasted walnuts, cranberries, and blue cheese in a bowl. Peel pears and slice in half, removing the core. In a new bowl, combine cider, port, and brown sugar. Arrange pear halves in a pie pan so that they fit snugly, and top each half with cheese-nut mixture. Then drizzle with cider mixture.

Bake for 30 minutes, basting occasionally. Remove and let pears cool. Combine any remaining basting liquid from the pan with olive oil and lemon juice to make a dressing. Dress the greens, and set out six plates. Arrange baked pear halves on top of dressed greens, adding a pinch of salt if desired,
Future Tastings with Madame Fromage:
November 20, Thanksgiving Cheese Plate with Marisa McClellan (foodinars.com)
December 18, Holiday Cheese Pairings
January 22, Fondu

Please reserve in advance by calling Quince in Philadelphia at 215.232.3425.  

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