Poached Pear with Gratinated Blue Cheese and Cayenne Pepper
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.
400 ml water
200 g sugar
5 star anise
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
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.