Pear Season – Carmelized Pears & Stilton

I cannot take credit for this recipe. Normally, if I bring you a recipe that was inspired by another recipe, I make sure to credit the source.

That is not the case this time. This time I straight up stole the recipe. This recipe is not ‘inspired by’ a recipe I found somewhere else, it is exactly the recipe as I saw it on the show America’s Test Kitchen.

If they ask me to take this recipe down, I will, but I feel strongly that this recipe should not be denied the world. Please go to America’s Test Kitchen and subscribe (or go buy one of their cookbooks) if you like this recipe as much as I do. They have many recipes as great as this one.

When my wife and I look at a dessert menu at a restaurant, she always makes googly eyes at the sweetest of the sweet. I always consider the after dinner cheese course. This recipe satisfies us both and has kept us in a happy marriage for 7 years now. And right now, with pears in season and on sale, now is for you to make it.

The idea is to use a classic salad pairing of pear and bleu cheese and turn it into a dessert. Once you lay halved pears cut-side down in a skillet of sugar and water you can watch the water brown into caramel right in front of your eyes. Just add a little cream around the pears to create a caramel sauce around the cooking pears. The result is a perfectly caramelized and poached pear in a rich delicious caramel sauce. Serve the pears topped with the sauce with a chunk of bleu cheese (preferably a stilton) for a flavor pairing that will blow your mind. I promise these flavors will meld together in ways you can’t possibly imagine.

Pair this with a late harvest viogner.

Enjoy!

Caramelized Pears & Bleu Cheese

2 to 3 pears (any type of pear can be used in this recipe, as long as it is firm)

1/3 cup water

2/3 cup sugar

2/3 cup heavy cream

¼ teaspoon coarsely crushed peppercorns

salt

3 oz bleu cheese (such as stilton)

  1. Place the water in a 12-inch nonstick skillet and pour the sugar into the center of the pan, taking care not to let the crystals adhere to the sides of the pan. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is fully dissolved and the mixture is bubbling wildly. Add the pears to the skillet, cut-side down, cover, reduce the heat to medium-high, and cook until the pears are nearly tender (a paring knife inserted into the center of the pears feels slight resistance)
  2. Uncover, reduce the heat to medium, and cook until the sauce is golden brown and the cut sides of the pears are partly caramelized, 3 to 5 minutes. Pour the heavy cream around the pears and cook, shaking the pan back and forth, until the sauce is a smooth, deep caramel color and the cut sides of the pears are beautifully golden, 3 to 5 minutes.
  3. Remove the pan from the heat. Using tongs, carefully remove the pears from the pan and place cut-side up on a wire rack set over a trimmed baking sheet. Cool slightly. Season the sauce left in the pan with salt to taste and the crushed black pepper, then pour it into a liquid measuring cup.
  4. Carefully (the pears will still be hot) stand each pear half upright on an individual plate and arrange a wedge of the blue sheese beside it. Drizzle the plate and some of the pear with the caramel sauce. Serve immediately. (Alternatively, the pears can be stood upright on a large serving platter, and the warm caramel sauce and the blue cheese can be passed separately.)
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