Sometimes it’s just love at first sight with food. You just know, without even tasting it, that it’s going to be perfect. After all, how can the classic combination of pears, cheese and nuts go wrong?
This recipe, which I found in the latest Food magazine (April/May 2016, Issue 88), jumped out at me as soon as I turned the page. I knew, without a doubt, I’d be making and eating it within 24 hours. And so I did!
What I loved most about this dish, was that it was as much a ‘sweet’ as it was a ‘savoury’. What you can’t tell from the pictures is that the sauce that’s drizzled over it is a gloriously delectable combination of maple syrup, orange juice, mixed spice and butter. That, combined with the sweet pear, salty brie and crunchy nuts(I used walnuts and pistachios) is absolutely my idea of heaven on earth.
I can’t recommend this dish highly enough, either as a sumptuous (slightly hedonistic) snack for yourself, or as a classy way to end a meal with friends – a sort of dessert/cheese board hybrid. Enjoy!
- 4 firm, but ripe pears, halved and cores removed
- 40g (1.4 oz) salted butter
- 1/2 teaspoon mixed spice
- 1/4 cup honey or maple syrup
- 125g (4.4 oz) brie, cut into wedges
- 1/2 cup mixed chopped nuts (such as pecans, walnuts, almonds and pistachios)
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1 tablespoon orange juice
- Preheat oven to 180C (360F) and grease or line a baking tray.
- Slice a little off the base of each pear so it sits flat when you serve it (NB: I did this after the pears were cooked, simply because I wanted to photograph the pears cooking).
- Heat butter, mixed spice and maple syrup over a moderate heat in a large frying pan. Place the pear halves cut side down and sear for 1-2 minutes until golden. Don't throw out the juices.
- Arrange pears on baking tray and place a wedge of brie on top of each piece. Sprinkle with chopped nuts and bake for 4-5 minutes, or until warmed through and melted.
- Meanwhile, add the orange juice to the syrup in the pan and stir to combine.
- Place pears on a serving platter and drizzle with the syrup. Sprinkle over the thyme.
Food Photography Info: Canon 550D (EOS Rebel T2i); Sigma 30mm 1.4 DC ‘Art’ lens / Combination of natural lighting and continuous fluorescent lighting softbox