I am such a sucker for soft creamy blue cheese – especially one from Woolworths called Simonzola, however any good really creamy blue will be fine for this dish. I am also sucker for walnuts – especially if they are fresh. I remember back in the 1970s The Stuttafords Food Hall in their Adderley Street store once had a towering Everest of fresh Californian Walnuts. Gosh they were delicious; I can still taste them if I think hard enough.
I love a crisp summer salad of Pear, blue cheese & walnuts on Rocket. With a slight wrinkle I have made a delicious cheese bake using some of those ingredients. You will need a small casserole to bake this dish, or an all steel frying pan.
Baked Pears, Blue Cheese & Candied Walnuts
What you’ll need
For the candied walnuts
60ml brown sugar
30ml cold water
pinch of cayenne pepper
12 walnut halves
For the cheese
150g creamy blue cheese
60ml smooth cream cheese
1 Forelle Pear
What you’ll do
For the walnuts
Spray a baking spray on a countertop or have ready a silicone sheet on which to place the walnuts and allow them to cool. Dissolve the sugar in the water and the cayenne in a small frying pan over low heat. Once dissolved raise the temperature and take it until it just turns into caramel. Add the nuts, turning them over quickly with a fork, make sure they are well covered and put them to cool.
Preset your oven to 180C with the shelf in the middle.
For the cheese
Break the blue cheese up with a fork and mix it with the cream cheese. Take the 6 most imperfect nuts and chop them roughly, add them to the cheese.
Take the pear and cut half of it into thin slices, chop the remaining half pear. Dip the sliced pears in the Balsamic vinegar and lay them on the base of the cheese baker.
Add the chopped pear to the cheese mixture and place the mixture on top of the pear slices. Place in the centre of the oven and turn down the temperature to 160C. Bake for 14 to 15 minutes until the top just starts turning brown. Garnish with the remaining walnuts and serve with unsalted plain crackers.
Serves 4 or 2 greedy ones
More and more I come to the belief that white wine is better with cheese than red. A great match to this dish is the Simonsig Gewurztraminer 2019. Presented in a bottle shape known as The Alsatian Flute in brown glass. The bottle is closed with a screw cap. Made from late harvested grapes; the wine is a bright golden straw colour. The aromas are so enticing, rose petals and Turkish delight. The palate from entry is sweet, rich and generous, though it is perfectly counterbalanced by a crisp appley acidity. Litchis, pear drops, and ripe white fleshed peach mingle in the long and refreshing aftertaste. While young, and eminently drinkable, the wine just gets better and better after a couple of years of cool cellaring.
Read more about Simonsig Wine Estate – CLICK HERE