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A Pair for Pears

Roasted Pear-Goat Cheese Crostini

Last week, I attended a holiday party, with potluck refreshments. What to bring? I made a quick survey of the refrigerator for inspiration. I found a bag of Bosc pears, some goat cheese, and three-quarters of a day-old baguette.

Last month, I came across a recipe for caramelized seckel pears. I’ve been thinking about them for weeks, but never had a chance to try the recipe out. This seemed like a good topper for the crostini. Hence, Roasted Pear-Goat Cheese Crostini it would be.

Roasted Pear-Goat Cheese Crostini
Makes about 3 dozen

1 baguette, cut into ¼-inch slices

Caramelized Pears:
2 Tbsp tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp honey
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp cinnamon
3 Bosc pears

4-6 oz goat cheese, at room temperature

Honey, for drizzling

Preheat the oven to 350F. Arrange the baguette slices in a single layer on baking sheet.. Bake for 10 minutes, until barely browned and crisp. Let them cool.

Turn up temperature to 425F and let the oven preheat. Line another baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, honey, vinegar, and cinnamon.

Slice each pear in half. Core with a melon baller. Now cut each half in half again so you have quarters. Slice each quarter into 4 to 6 slices. I found it easier to cut through the peel side first.

In a large bowl, toss the pears with the balsamic dressing until all the slices are coated.

Arrange the pear slices on the lined baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for 12 minutes. Let the pear slices cool.

Spread each baguette slice with goat cheese. Place a pear slice on top of the goat cheese. You might need to cut the pear slices in half crosswise to fit.

Drizzle the crostini with honey.

Caramelized Pears

I ended up with many more pear slices than I needed for the number of crostini I was making. The leftover pear slices are delicious in salad. I love making salads for all the random bits of leftovers in the fridge. I had a great lunch salad with some leftover turkey confit, roasted fingerling potatoes, and the caramelized pear slices, along with lettuce, of course.

Salad with Pears

Here’s the result of my labors at the holiday greens party. I did start with a plain fir wreath that I bought, but I added more greens as well as all the decorations. Isn’t it pretty?

DSC04692

ffwd: goat cheese mini puffs

I have a soft spot for goat cheese. Actually, generally speaking, I have a soft spot for goats. I have a fantasy of keeping a small herd of goats and making cheese from their milk. I’ve researched it, so I doubt I’ll ever fulfill this dream, but it’s still in my head.

This week’s French Friday recipe is for goat cheese mini puffs. These are small savory cream puffs stuffed with an herbal goat cheese filling rather than pastry cream. Definitely intriguing.

First step is to make the cream puffs. I’ve only made pâte à choux for French Friday recipes. Previously, we made éclairs and gougères, and now these mini puffs. Each time, I’m amazed at how magical it is to see the pastry transforming from seemingly dense dough into puffy little balls. This time was no exception. Flour is stirred into a pot of boiling milk, water, and butter. Then, eggs are beaten into the warm mixture to make shiny dough. Spoonfuls of dough are placed on the sheet and baked until puffed and golden.

Before

After

I didn’t read the recipe well before I went shopping, so I bought plain goat cheese instead of herbed. No problem. I added a teaspoon of dried herbes de Provence when I mixed the chèvre with cream cheese and cream.

I got a chance to whip out my never-before-used pastry bags with tips to fill the cream puffs. The recipe said a small plain tip, so I used the smallest tip which was the only one without fancy edges.

I think it’s meant for writing with icing because the filling was too thick to come out easily and I popped the bag.

Oops! A Goat Cheese Explosion!

When I switched over to a slightly larger star tip, it worked much better. Some of the puffs already had a little hole for filling. For the others, I used a chopstick to make a little hole for inserting the tip.

Due to a timing glitch last night, I didn’t serve these as an appetizer. I served them as an accompaniment to a bowl of soup for lunch.

I have to say that I didn’t LOVE these as much as I expected to, though I did like them. I ended up baking the puffs the night before I filled them, and might have stored them a little too airtight so they weren’t crusty, but a little soggy. I still have some left, so I might reheat them a bit before filling and see if that improves things. I liked the impressive presentation though. I’m going to a holiday potluck next month, and these might be the perfect finger food to bring for my contribution.

You can find the recipe in Dorie Greenspan’s book Around My French Table. I’m looking forward to reading about what my fellow FFwD bloggers thought about this week’s recipe. Check out their links at French Fridays with Dorie.