In a rare moment of inspiration after watching an episode of Jacques Pepin on a lazy Saturday morning, I concocted these little treats and have been waiting to try them for a few weeks. Truthfully, I really wasn't sure if they would be any good. With so many strong flavors fighting for your attention, it may just be too much. But I had to try, if for no other reason than it gave me a reason to buy really good bleu cheese.
My first attempt at making these was not a complete failure, but it was pretty close. First, I did not cook them long enough. Second, I used the broiler instead of the oven, so they didn't cook from the right side. On the second attempt, I think I got it right, or I am at least getting closer. I am still not sure how to classify these. If they were to appear on the menu at a popular five-star restaurant, would you find them with the appetizers? Or with the desserts? I guess I will let you decide. I hope you try them, add your own flavors to the recipe, and have fun. I did. Here we go.
Baked Pear with Bleu Cheese and Bacon
1 ripe pear, (be sure it's not too over ripe or squishy)
3 pieces of good quality bacon
4 - 5 Tablespoons of high quality crumbly bleu cheese
3 - 4 Tablespoons brown sugar
Fry the bacon, set aside to drain and cool. Once the bacon is cool, chop and crumble it into tiny bits. It's ok, go ahead and taste a few pieces. You deserve it.
Spoon the brown sugar into two brulee ramekins, spreading just enough to cover the bottoms. Peal the pears, and slice off the first 1/2 inch of the top and bottom. Halve the pear, and using a paring knife and small spoon, cut out the inner stem and seeds. Use the spoon to carve out the hole made by removing the seeds a little bit.
Place the pear halves in the ramekins, one in each. Place the ramekins on a baking sheet, and place into a 375 degree oven. Bake the pears for about 10 - 15 minutes, depending on softness of the pear. Once the brown sugar begins to liquefy and bubble, remove the pears from the oven.
Crumble the bleu cheese into the hole and trough left by the seeds and stem. Once again, go ahead and take a little taste of the cheese for yourself. I know. You're hungry.
Put the pears back into the oven for another 10 - 15 minutes. Check on them after the 10 minute mark. The brown sugar should continue to liquefy and the pears should soften. You will know they are done when the pears feel soft and forgiving when you squeeze them.
Once out of the oven, sprinkle the bacon crumbles over the top of the pears and bubbly brown sugar. Serve just out of the oven, while the brown sugar is still liquidy. Yes. Liquidy.
The flavors in this relatively simple dish are robust, but manage to mingle well. The sweet pear and brown sugar mix nicely with the tangy bleu cheese and salty bacon. It may not be something you make everyday, but I promise if you give a try, you will not be disappointed. Enjoy.