2 Firm Bosc or Anjou pears, cut in half and core scooped out
1 Tsp. Butter flavored olive oil
4 Tbsp. Crumbled Gorgonzola blue cheese
10 Grinds of fresh black pepper
2 Tbsp. Honey
1/4 Cup Cinnamon flavored balsamic vinegar
Flaky salt to finish (optional)
2) Prep your pears by slicing them in half length wise leaving the stem in place if still attached. Scoop out the core and seeds of the pear with a spoon. Discard. This will leave a shallow well in the middle of each pear half. Using a pastry brush, brush the cut sides of the pear with the butter flavored olive oil.
3) Fill that cavity with a tablespoon of the Gorgonzola crumbles and place in a small casserole dish. Grind fresh black pepper on top. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the cheese is melting and the pears are slightly soft and warmed through.
4) While the pears are baking, pour your cinnamon flavored balsamic vinegar into a small sauce pan and boil over medium heat until reduced by half. Let cool a bit. The vinegar will get thick and syrupy as it cools.
5) When the pears come out of the oven, drizzle the pears with the honey and then the reduced cinnamon balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with the flaky salt to finish. Serve with a knife and fork and enjoy!
NOTES: Pears never tasted as good as they do when baked with Gorgonzola cheese and finished with a drizzle of honey and reduced cinnamon flavored balsamic vinegar. This pears and Gorgonzola dish is so easy to prepare and so delicious to serve as either a starter or dessert course. You decide.
When you decide on the best pear to use in this dish, choose a firm pear. You don’t want them to get mushy when cooked. Both Anjou and Bosc pears work in this recipe. When scooping out that center core, I recommend using a grapefruit spoon. This is one of the best tools in my kitchen. The rough edges make it perfect for scooping out that hard core.
I’ve used a Gorgonzola blue cheese in this dish but any blue cheese will work. Not a fan of blue cheese? Use one of your favorite melting cheeses for a slightly different flavor profile. Baked brie with pears is a classic combination but really, baked pears with cheese can be made with any cheese of your choosing.
The real flavor twists in this dish come from the use of artisanal flavored olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I’ve used just a touch of the butter flavored olive oil to moisten the fruit and give it added flavor. By reducing the balsamic vinegar to a syrup, you are getting a concentrated hit of cinnamon and the sweetness really comes out. Cinnamon pears, honey and cheese is just a winning combination.
Gorgonzola is a type of blue cheese. Gorgonzola is known to be milder in taste with less of a funky taste and it is softer than some of the other blue cheese varieties. That let’s it soften up in this dish. A good Gorgonzola substitute would be Cambozola. This is a creamy, soft-ripened Camembert-type cheese with streaks of blue cheese. It melts really well and is even more mild than Gorgonzola. I’d recommend either of these if you are just being introduced to blue cheese.
No. You want roasted pears with blue cheese. Roasting or baking gives a depth of flavor that can’t be accomplished in the microwave.
Yes. I just recommend that you reduce it so it becomes syrupy and sweet.
I have served this as an appetizer, dessert, and as a brunch item on a buffet. It also works well as part of a cheese board. It is delicious warm but is also fine at room temperature.