Last night we brought the New Year in with a few close friends and a little dinner party. Our friends are resigned to the fact they will have to “suffer” through being my taste testers, while I try out new recipes. They don’t seem to mind. As I was searching for the perfect menu, I came across a recipe for pear pies. I love to make little pies, and this one was just too cute.
The crust is wrapped around the pear half and baked. How cute is that? I wrestled with modifying this for a dessert dish but I usually have a chocolate dessert for my chocoholic friends…and I already had a salted caramel chocolate tart in mind…. That’s when the bells started ringing in my head…. Why couldn’t this be made into our salad? My mama made pear salad all the time…you know, a pear half with a dollop of mayo, topped with grated American cheese? I make it, too. So, with a few tweaks it went from pear pie to “Not Your Mama’s Pear Salad.”
Oh, it was soooooooo good!
I pre-cooked the pears in sugar water and brandy. I wanted to make sure the pears were tender and if they’re only baked long enough to cook the pastry, they wouldn’t have enough time to get tender.
Then allowed them to cool on parchment paper until time to bake.
Just before baking, the pears are covered with puff pastry. Make a little leaf and place beside the stem. Cute!
Pierce pastry with a knife all over.
Bake them until golden brown.
Allow to cool a few minutes. Then flip over and fill with a delightful blue cheese mixture, chopped pears and walnuts.
Place each half on lettuce. I didn’t use much lettuce because I had a very rich meal and didn’t want them to fill up on filler… 😉
Garnish with additional toasted walnuts and fresh cherries that I pitted and marinated in brandy. Drizzle with a little Pear-Gorgonzola Dressing, (found in Kroger) and it was perfectly perfect.
You could make a meal of this salad and only serve dessert afterward. It was perfectly delicious. I.mean.perfect. It looks beautiful and it’s very easy to make.
Happy New Year!!!!!
- 3 hard pears..buy ones with a good stem still attached
- Puff Pastry
- 1/4 cup blue cheese, crumbled
- 1/4 cup fontina cheese, grated
- 1/4 cup toasted walnuts, finely chopped
- 4 Tbls Brandy, divided
- 1/2 cup fresh cherries, pitted and sliced in half
- salad greens
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 lemon, juice only
- Pre-heat oven 400*
- Peel pears
- Cut in half making sure to slice stem in half as well.
- Core, removing seeds and some of the pulp, to make a 'well' for the filling.
- Reserve pulp and chop finely. Set side.
- Brush pears with lemon juice.
- In a skillet add water, sugar and 2 TBLS Brandy.
- Bring mixture to a boil then reduce heat to medium
- Add pears and cook gently for about 10 minutes or until they are barely tender.
- Remove from sugar water, drain
- Place cut side down on parchment paper on baking sheet, allow to cool a few minutes or until almost ready to serve.
- Thaw puff pastry and cut into rectangles to fit over pear half.
- I placed rectangle over pear and cut around it with a paring knife to shape of pear. Then tuck sides. Trim excess pastry.
- Cut a 'leaf' and attach to top of pastry with milk.
- Brush whole pear with milk. Pierce pastry over with a fork.
- Bake in preheated oven until pastry is golden brown, about 20 minutes. Allow to sit a few minutes while you mix filling. Baste with milk once again.
- In a small bowl, mix cheeses, half of the chopped walnuts, chopped pear pulp and remaining brandy.
- Fill each pear with a generous amount of filling. Top with remaining chopped walnuts.
- Place pear half on lettuce leaves
- Garnish with additional toasted walnut halves and marinated cherry halves.
- Drizzle with Pear-Gorgonzola dressing (or any other vinaigrette dressing of choice)
- Serves 6