Pear & Goat Cheese Tartines

Pear and Goat Cheese Tartines

Here is something I discovered about myself when putting together this post: Apparently I really don’t like sandwiches.

Pear and Goat Cheese Tartines

When I went to file this recipe under “Sandwiches,” I discovered that there was no such category on this site. Not only have I not posted a single sandwich recipe over the past year, but this isn’t even really a sandwich, either. It’s a tartine, toast, open-faced sandwich – whatever you’d like to call it, I’m pretty sure no man would be willing to say this is a sandwich. Hmph.

A blog with no sandwiches is a problem. One that I will remedy in the coming months.

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Whole Pear Parfait with Goat Cheese and Chocolate

Yesterday’s post was all about clean eating. So obviously, today I bring you a dessert with goat cheese and chocolate.

How hypocritical of me.

Let’s just acknowledge that this is a treat, and move on.

Whole Pear Parfait with Goat Cheese and Chocolate

This is not the first time I’ve made you a pear with cheese on top. So I guess you could call this a variation on a theme.

Pears are so pretty, though. I can’t help making them into desserts.

Whole Pear Parfait with Goat Cheese and Chocolate

I was inspired to make these pears by The Novice Chef’s Vertical Pear Salad, which has been circulating on Pinterest. Naturally, my train of thought was as follows:

Oooh, that’s pretty. I should do that.

You know what’s more fun than a salad, though? A dessert!

But maybe I could still leave the cheese on?

So, there you have it. I started with a salad and turned it into a dessert. This should surprise just about no one.

Whole Pear Parfait with Goat Cheese and Chocolate

Have you ever had chocolate and goat cheese before, like in chocolate goat cheesecake (one of the best desserts I’ve ever had)?

You might think it sounds like an odd combination, and maybe it is, but in the best way possible.  Together they are tangy, sweet, and extremely rich.

Now that I’m thinking about that chocolate goat cheesecake, I’m realizing that I’m going to have to make that sometime. Put it on the list.

Whole Pear Parfait with Goat Cheese and Chocolate

Try these out if you like rich desserts! They are super easy and quick to assemble; melting the chocolate is what takes the longest.

Speaking of the chocolate, next time I might add more milk to make it even drizzle-ier, and pour it all over the top instead. As it is, this dessert isn’t too gooey… and I will always opt for gooey.

Have a good weekend, friends!

Whole Pear Parfait with Goat Cheese and Chocolate

Whole Pear Parfait with Goat Cheese, Chocolate and Granola

Serves 4

Ingredients:

4 pears (I used Bosc)

5 oz dark chocolate chips

1/4 cup milk or cream (I used almond milk)

5-6 oz. goat cheese

1/2 cup granola

Instructions:

Cut a tiny slice off of the bottom of each pear, so that it will stand up straight. Then slice each pear into 3 horizontal pieces.

In a heat-proof dish, microwave the chocolate chips and milk together. As noted above, you could increase the amount of milk (to 1 cup or so) to make it more of a sauce that you could drizzle over the whole dessert. Once chocolate is melted, whisk together. If you find that the milk is making the chocolate seize up, try adding a bit more milk and microwaving it for another 30 seconds, then whisk again.

Spread a layer of goat cheese onto the top of each pear base. Sprinkle with a small handful of granola, and give it a dollop of chocolate. Place the second pear layer on and repeat. Top with the last piece of pear!

These are prettiest if served in the hour or so after assembly. They do keep in the fridge for about 24 hours, but the chocolate will not be melted, of course, and the edges of the pear layers will look a tiny bit shriveled. However, I found that the chocolate was soft enough to be eaten after being refrigerated overnight, if you have leftovers!

Time:

10 minutes

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Spiced Red Wine Poached Pears

red wine poaches pears

OK, if chocolate and hazelnut isn’t your thing, (then I don’t understand you BUT) I’ve still got you covered for Christmas dessert. You can totally invite me over if you’re going to serve these. (You should have a little talk with your taste buds about the chocolate hazelnut thing, though.)

This is the perfect dessert to end a rich holiday meal, when you know there will be cookies and other sweets on the table, too. Spiced red wine poached pears are positively healthy compared with what you could be serving (ahem hazelnut cake), yet elegant and interesting enough to satisfy any dessert-lover. And for those who like rich desserts (this girl!), a healthy dollop of mascarpone cheese is recommended.

red wine poached pears

Can you tell from these pictures how beautiful these pears are? They are poached (fancy word for simmered!) in red wine, then further soaked in the poaching liquid, which is finally reduced down to a syrupy glaze to pour over the pears. The color is just gorgeous. You know I have a thing for colorful Christmastime foods! And served with the creamy mascarpone, they are just heaven.

This is definitely an adult-table-only dish. Sorry kids! You wouldn’t like it anyway… way too grown-up for you :)

(Am I the only one that liked the taste of wine as a kid? I specifically remember dipping my finger in my dad’s white wine when I couldn’t have been older than 6. My mom told me to stop because wine made kids “sick.” Hah!)

Plan a day or so ahead for these pears so you can give them time to soak overnight and take on the beautiful color and flavor of the spiced wine. That means leaving some extra room in the fridge for them during your Christmas food prep… and oh yeah, leaving some extra room at the table for me!

Spiced Red Wine Poached Pears

Adapted from The Boston Globe

Ingredients:

4 cups cold water
juice of 1 lemon
4-6 firm but ripe pears with stems intact (I used Bosc, but Bartlett will work, too)
1 bottle light red wine (mine cost $6.99 and was perfect for the job)
1/2 cup sugar
juice of 1 orange
1 2-inch strip orange rind
1 star anise
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick
3/4 cup mascarpone for serving (or whipped cream, if you prefer)

Instructions:

Juice the lemon into a large bowl with the water. Carefully peel the pears, keeping the stems intact and taking care not to dent them. Cut a small slice from the base of each pear so that it can sit upright. Place each one into the lemon juice mixture as you finish peeling and cutting it. This will miraculously keep them from browning!

In a pot large enough to hold all the pears, combine all other ingredients besides the mascarpone (wine through cinnamon stick). Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves.

Add the pears and simmer for 25 minutes, turning every 5 minutes or so to ensure even color. They should be tender when pierced with a skewer. (They may need 5 to 10 minutes longer if they were not ripe.)

Remove from heat and allow pears to cool completely in the poaching liquid.

Once completely cool, transfer the pears in their liquid to the fridge for at least several hours and as long as 3 days. (I recommend at least overnight to develop a deeper color.) You can keep the whole pot in the fridge, or transfer to a different container to save space. If your pot/container is deep enough, keep the pears standing upright. If not, that’s fine, just turn them over occasionally to let them soak evenly. The sides where they lie down will be a little flat and less colored, but no one will mind.

Before serving, strain about 1/3 of the poaching liquid into a saucepan. Bring it to a boil over high heat. Remove lid, reduce heat to medium and let the mixture bubble steadily until it reduces to a syrupy glaze, about 15-20 minutes.

To serve, place each pear on a dessert plate or in a shallow bowl and drizzle with the syrup. Add mascarpone on the side.

Enjoy!

Time:

4 hours to 3 days (includes refrigeration time)

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