Poached Pear with Gratinated Blue Cheese and Cayenne Pepper

Serves 4

A French meal is always finished with a cheese course — a perfectly ripe cheese, served with fresh seasonal fruit. This dessert is my way of combining blue cheese and sweet corella pears. A little unusual but a wonderful and easy-to-prepare dessert.

Ingredients

400 ml water

200 g sugar

5 star anise

2 cloves

1 cinnamon quill

2 cardamom pods

2 corella pears, ripe not soft

100 g soft blue cheese, such as Milawa Blue

100 ml cream

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

20 g pine nuts, lightly toasted

Method

For the poaching liquid, combine the water, sugar and spices in a large saucepan.

Place over medium heat. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer.

Peel the pears, then lower the pears into the simmering syrup, cook until

tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the pears, place on a wire rack

to cool. Reserve 100 ml of the poaching liquid.

Halve the pears, scoop out the core with a melon baller or teaspoon,

leaving a little hollow in each pear half. Fill with a tablespoon of blue

cheese. Place in an ovenproof serving dish, put under a hot grill until

the cheese begins to melt.

For the cayenne sauce, bring the remaining poaching liquid to the boil, add

the cream and the cayenne pepper. Cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

To serve, pour the cayenne cream sauce over the pears, sprinkle with

toasted pine nuts.