How do you pair apples and pears in one coherent dish? It is the challenge on hand this week at IHCC. I baked some Anjou pears and used apple cider and Calvados. You really can’t beat adding aged Calvados in anything. Well-made Calvados should naturally be reminiscent of apples and pears. You could certainly taste both fruits in this dish. In addition, the crumbled blue cheese imparts a funky and salty element, while the toasted walnuts provide the crunch. Eat the finished pears with some greens, the roasted pears with blue cheese dish becomes a satisfying salad. If you don’t have time for the roasting part, you can have the pears raw in this pear and fennel salad.
You can’t go wrong with roasted pears when the variety of pears all of the sudden fill up the shelves in the market. I picked a smaller size and really green Anjous. Wait for a few days until the pears start to soften a bit, but not too much.
Like all fruit desserts, the taste of the fruits will be fully reviewed on the plate. These green Anjous hold up well after the oven roasting, its flesh turns exceedingly juicy without falling apart.
Ina recommends using Anjous for this recipe. A good choice since they are widely available. I also like the seckel pears for its smaller size and notes of sweet champagne, the kind to seek out for the next pear roasting and baking project.
Roasted Pears with Blue CheesePrint Recipe
- 3 ripe but firm Anjou pears
- Freshly squeezed lemon juice from two lemons
- 3 ounces coarsely crumbled sharp blue cheese such as Stilton
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup walnut pieces, toasted and chopped
- 1/2 cup apple cider
- 3 tablespoon Calvados or port
- 1/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
- 1/4 cup good olive oil
- 6 ounces baby arugula
- Kosher salt
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Peel the pears and slice them lengthwise into halves. With a small, sharp paring knife and a melon baller, remove the core and seeds from each pear, leaving a round well for the filling. Trim a small slice away from the rounded sides of each pear half so that they will sit in the baking dish without wobbling. Toss the pears with lemon juice to prevent them from turning brown. Arrange them, core side up, in a baking dish large enough to hold the pears snugly.
Gently toss the crumble blue cheese, dried cranberries and walnuts together in a small bowl. Divide the mixture among the pears, mounding it on top of the indentation.
In the same small bowl, combine the apple cider, Calvados, and brown sugar, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Pour the mixture over and around the pears. Bake the pears, basting occasionally with the cider mixture, for 30 minutes, or until tender. Set aside until warm or at room temperature.
Just before serving, whisk together the olive oil, 1/4 cup lemon juice, and 1/4 cup of the basting liquid in a large bowl. Add the arugula and toss well. Divide the arugula among 6 plates and top each with a pear half. Drizzle each pear with some of the basting liquid, sprinkle with salt, and serve.
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics by Ina Garten