This looks and tastes like a fancy schmancy appetizer, but I promise you it’s very simple to make. It pairs especially well with dessert wine, which is exactly how I discovered it! My friend Courtney recently suggested this recipe to me after I told her I planned to crack open a bottle of Far Niente’s dessert wine Dolce with my hubby that evening. I highly recommend these elegant toasts, whether you’re simultaneously toasting with dessert wine or not!
Whipped Blue Cheese and Poached Pear Toasts
Yield: 8 appetizer servings
Time: 30 minutes
For the whipped blue cheese:
6 oz. blue cheese
4 oz. cream cheese (or Neufchâtel)
¾ tsp. red wine vinegar
1/8 tsp. salt
1 cup whipped cream
For the poached pears:
8 cups water
2½ cup sugar
6 cinnamon sticks
5 strips of fresh ginger (remove the outer skin from the ginger root, then create strips using a vegetable peeler)
4 Bosc pears (Bartlett or Anjou work too!)
1 baguette or loaf of other French bread
freshly cracked pepper
4 tbsp. honey
- Thinly slice the baguette and lightly toast until golden brown (about 5-8 minutes at 375ºF).
- To poach the pears, combine the water, sugar, cinnamon and ginger in a small saucepan. Simmer over medium heat until gently boiling. Keeping the stems of the pears intact, peel off the outer skin. Submerge the pears into the boiling poaching liquid and continue to simmer over medium heat until the pears are softened, about 10 minutes. Remove the pears from the liquid and allow to cool to room temperature. Slice into quarters, remove the core, and thinly slice each quarter into about 5 slices.
- In the meantime, mash together the blue cheese, cream cheese, vinegar and salt. Gently fold in the whipped cream and mix until well blended.
- Spread 1 tbsp. of the cheese mixture over each toasted baguette slice. Place two slices of poached pear on top of the cheese mixture. Lightly drizzle with honey and garnish with fresh cracked pepper.
Note: The poaching liquid can be kept refrigerated for up to one week to poach additional pears and/or to be used as a pear-cinnamon-ginger simple syrup for cocktails.