Pear Gorgonzola Triangles



You can assemble these ahead of time and keep them in the freezer or refrigerator until you need them. Bake a few to serve with our Hungarian Mushroom Soup for a hearty and delicious pick-up lunch – make the soup ahead of time too. We baked them up for our holiday buffet at Brookside in December 2015. Adapted from the blog out of Vancouver called Baking Obsession.

1 # homemade puff pastry or good quality store-bought
2 large pears, peeled, cored, finely chopped
2 t lemon juice
1/3 C raw sugar
1/3 C dry cranberries
1/3 C finely chopped hazelnuts
3 oz Gorgonzola, crumbled
1 t finely chopped fresh thyme
1 egg beaten with 1 tbsp water for egg wash
Coarse raw sugar for sprinkling

Center the oven rack and preheat the oven to 375F. Line two large baking sheets with silicone mats or non-stick aluminum. In a small bowl, combine all filling ingredients. On a lightly floured surface, roll out half of the puff pastry (keep another half refrigerated) into a square about 11×11-inches. Trim the edges to get a perfect 10×10-inches square. Using a pizza wheel, make two vertical and two horizontal cuts through the equal intervals to get 9 smaller squares. Spoon about a tablespoon of filling in the center of each square, brush two edges with a little bit of egg wash and fold the pastry over to make a triangle. Press the edges well to seal. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Chill for about 20 minutes before baking. Meanwhile, work on the other half of puff pastry. Once chilled, brush the triangles with the egg wash being careful not to drip any excess onto the baking sheet (it will prevent proper rising), sprinkle with some coarse sugar, make small holes on the top of each turnover for steam to escape, and bake for about 25 minutes, until puffed and golden brown. Cool on a rack until warm and serve.

Vanilla-Poached Pears with Mascarpone Cream




We’re headed to US Botanic Garden this weekend for their Junior Botanist Festival Saturday Sept. 26, 10 am-3 pm. Come join us for demos using vanilla beans. The Garden has a vanilla orchid as part of its collection, so you can see how the bean grows in real time. Vanilla-poached pears are a fall fave. Adrienne will be demoing this. Danielle is working up an apple-vanilla concoction and we’ll post it as soon as it’s perfected. Come taste something delicious Saturday at 100 Maryland Ave SW. The Pope will be long gone.

Poached Pears:

4 firm Bosc or Comice pears (do not use ripe or soft pears)
2 C red wine
1 vanilla bean, whole or 1 t vanilla extract for poaching liquid
2 cinnamon sticks
1 C sugar
2 T cold butter, divided in half

Peel and cut the pear in half lengthwise. Use a melon baller or spoon to scoop out the seeds and core. You are creating a small “bowl” in the pear half that will later hold the marscapone cream. In a deep saucepan, bring wine and 2 C water to a simmer. Split vanilla bean lengthwise and add to wine and water mixture. Add cinnamon and sugar. Add pears to liquid and simmer for 20 to 35 minutes or until tender but not too soft. Remove pears from liquid and reserve. (If making ahead, hold pears in poaching liquid, removing the cinnamon, vanilla and bay leaf. Cool the liquid and pears down to below 70F, then store in airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Remove pears from liquid and bring to room temperature, then proceed with the recipe.)

Remove the cinnamon, bay leaves and vanilla bean from the wine mixture. Continue to simmer and reduce the liquid until thick and syrupy, about five minutes. Be sure not to over-reduce or burn the syrup. Whisk in butter, quickly, one tablespoon at a time. Cover sauce and remove from heat; hold until ready to serve.

Mascarpone Cream:

1 (8-ounce) containers of Mascarpone cheese (may substitute cream cheese)
1/4 t vanilla extract
1/4 C heavy cream or half-and-half
1/4 cup powdered sugar

Combine in a small bowl the mascarpone cheese, heavy cream, pinch cinnamon, vanilla extract and powdered sugar until smooth.

To serve, place a small dollop of the Mascarpone Cream on a dessert dish. Place a poached pear half on top of the dollop, which keeps it from sliding. Fill the “bowl” of the pear with mascarpone cream. Spoon or drizzle pear with red wine syrup. Repeat with remaining pears.

Many thanks to Rachel Reuben, for original recipe.


Revenge of the Pear Crisp


The name of this dish comes from where we found it — on the blog Food52. The old saying goes “Revenge is a dish best served cold,” but this luscious dish is actually best served warm or at room temperature — though it’ll be good cold too. With the crystalized ginger and Meyer lemon — sweeter and calmer than conventional lemons — and a topping that includes almonds and cinnamon, this is like getting two desserts in one. It’s sublime with pears, but probably would work pretty nicely with apples too. Demoed at Brookside in September 2014. Read More

Simple Poached Pears with Miso Butterscotch

pearsThe pears you can poach in any number of ways – this is perhaps the simplest. I vary the poaching liquid depending on what pears I use and what I’m in the mood for that day – so red wine, white wine, especially a slightly sweeter one such as a Moscato, vanilla, cinnamon, cloves, orange peel – some combination of these might be incorporated at any given time. Try different pears too, though Bosc is probably the go-to just for superior texture once cooked. What doesn’t change is the incredible Miso Butterscotch sauce, below, which really sets these pears apart. Miso paste, a fermented bean paste from Japan, is available in nearly all supermarkets and certainly at Asian groceries. It’s sold near the tofu in the refrigerated section of the market or with the international foods in shelf-stable packaging. Either version is good, though Danielle prefers the refrigerated versions as the fermentation is fresher. The recipe is from Mark Bittman of the New York Times. This recipe was demoed at USBG September 11, 2014. Read More