Tag Archives: pears

Caramelized Pear and Blue Cheese Quiche

The classic combination of pear and blue cheese comes together in an unusual twist in this decadent deep dish quiche. Like any successful couple, it’s their ability to balance and complement each other’s distinctive qualities—in this case, their flavors and textures.

Choose pears, any variety, that have medium firmness. They should give a little when pressed, but not soft enough to bruise—our Bosc pears were on the firmer side. Unfortunately, the top slices sink into the egg mixture when assembling. Perhaps they could be added after 30-45 minutes of baking when the mixture has firmed up some.

If the thought of spending three or more straight hours preparing the quiche before company arrives, you may want to considering making it the day before. If so doing, once baked, wait until the quiche is completely cooled, leaving it in the springform pan. Cover first with a layer of saran wrap, followed by tin foil and refrigerate.

If you made it the day before, remove quiche from fridge and sit on the counter one hour prior to baking. Preheat the oven to 350°. If the edges are already golden-brown, cover the crust (but not the filling) with foil to prevent a burnt-toast exterior. Start checking for an internal temperature of 165°F after 20 minutes, it may take longer because it is deep dish. Slice up and serve that savory pie as soon as possible.

A couple of hints from one reviewer suggests rolling out the dough after 20-30 minutes of chilling if you plan to bake it another time, otherwise too long in the fridge and it won’t roll out well. Add a lot of pastry over the rim of the springform pan as it may shrink a lot—ours did not. Be sure to prick the sides and bottom as well, or it bubbles. Save a scrap of raw dough to fill any cracks after baking the shell so you don’t have an egg mixture leak.

Caramelized Pear and Blue Cheese Quiche

  • Servings: 10
  • Difficulty: moderately difficult
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Ingredients

Crust

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 8 Tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • ¼ cup cold water

Filling

  • 1 recipe Deep-Dish Pastry Shell (see above)
  • 3 medium firm pears, such as Bosc, D’Anjou, or Bartlett
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • ½ cup crumbled blue cheese 
  • 6 large eggs 
  • 2 cups plain fat-free greek yogurt
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. ground white pepper
  • ⅛ tsp. ground nutmeg
  • Crumbled blue cheese
  • Fresh sage leaves (optional) 

Directions

  1. In the bowl of a food processor combine the flour and salt. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Combine the egg and water in a small bowl; add to the food processor and pulse until the mixture just begins to clump together. Transfer the mixture out onto a sheet of plastic wrap; fold the wrap over and press the crumbs until they hold together; shape into a circle. Wrap and chill at least 30 minutes.
  2. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll it out to a 15-inch circle. Carefully roll the pastry around the rolling pin and transfer to a 9×2 1/2-inch springform pan, pressing it into the sides. Trim the overhanging pastry to 1 inch and press it firmly against the outside of the ring to help prevent it from shrinking. Use the trimmings to fill any cracks. Freeze the shell for 20 minutes. Prick sides and bottom every couple of inches with a fork.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the springform pan on a baking sheet. Line the pastry shell with a double thickness of aluminum foil long enough to overhang the sides. Bake about 20 minutes or until the edge of the dough is lightly browned. Remove the foil and continue baking the pastry shell for 10 to 15 minutes longer, or until lightly browned on the bottom. Transfer the baking sheet to a rack and let the pastry cool.
  4. In the meantime, core and cut 2 of the pears into 1/2- to 3/4-inch cubes. Thinly slice the remaining pear and reserve.
  5. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the cubed pears and sugar; cook, stirring occasionally, for 7 to 8 minutes or until lightly browned. Transfer to the pre-baked pastry shell and top with blue cheese; set aside. Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon butter in the skillet and add the pear slices. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 4 minutes or until just softened; set aside.
  6. For the custard, in a blender combine the eggs, yogurt, milk, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Blend until frothy.
  7. Place the springform pan with the pastry shell on a baking sheet. Gently pour in the custard. Arrange the reserved pear slices in a spoke pattern on top of the quiche. Bake 1 hour 20 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes until the top is lightly browned and the custard is just set (165°F) but still jiggles slightly in the center. Let stand 30 to 40 minutes.
  8. With a serrated knife, cut the pastry shell flush with the top of the pan. Carefully remove the springform pan ring. Top with additional blue cheese and, if desired, sage leaves. Cut into wedges.

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Source: Better Homes and Gardens

White Wine-Poached Pears with Lemon and Herbs

If you’re looking for an easy pear dessert that lets the fruit shine, look no further. The Hubs came across this lovely recipe in his new acquisition by Cook’s Illustrated (CI) “The Compete Mediterranean Cookbook.” Poached pears are a classic French dessert, and yet simple enough to make at home.

Because our bosc pears were a bit too firm yet, the simmering process took longer to render them tender enough. We also lengthened the sauce reduction time to get the syrup to the correct consistency. Making them the day before our dinner party gave the pears ample time to refrigerate overnight.

They can be served as is, or with crème fraîche… perhaps even a shortbread cookie on the side…

NOTES from CI: For the best texture, try to buy pears that are neither fully ripe nor rock hard; choose those that yield just slightly when pressed. Use a vegetable peeler to peel strips of lemon zest, but take care to avoid the bitter pith beneath the skin. For the white wine, a medium-bodied dry white wine such as Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay is recommended.

White Wine-Poached Pears with Lemon and Herbs

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 bottle dry white wine (750-ml)
  • ¾ cups sugar
  • 6 strips lemon zest from 1 lemon
  • 5 sprigs fresh mint leaves
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise, seed scraped out and reserved
  • ½ cinnamon stick
  • ⅛ tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. juice from 1 lemon
  • 6 ripe but firm pears (about 8 oz. each), preferably Bosc or Bartlett
  • Crème fraîche, for garnish, optional

Directions

  1. Bring the wine, sugar, lemon zest, mint, thyme, vanilla seeds and pod, cinnamon, and salt to a simmer in a large saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves completely, about 5 minutes; cover and set aside until needed.
  2. Meanwhile, fill a large bowl with water and add the lemon juice. Peel, halve, and core the pears following the illustrations in the related quick tips, adding them to the lemon water to prevent browning.
  3. Drain the pears, discarding the lemon water, and add to the wine mixture. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until pears are tender and a toothpick or skewer can be inserted into pear with very little resistance, 10 to 20 minutes, gently turning the pears over every 5 or so minutes.
  4. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fruit to a shallow casserole dish. Return the syrup to medium heat and simmer until it is slightly thickened and measures 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups, about 15 minutes. Strain the syrup through a fine mesh strainer, then pour over the pears, discarding the strained solids. Refrigerate the pears until well chilled, at least 2 hours or up to 3 days.
  5. To serve, spoon portions of fruit and syrup into individual bowls or on plates. Drizzle crème fraîche over the tops, if desired.

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