I am such a sucker for soft creamy blue cheese. I am a sucker for walnuts – especially is 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 love a crisp summer salad of fennel, pear, blue cheese and walnuts. With a slight wrinkle I have made a delicious cheese bake using some of those ingredients. You will need a small casserole for this.
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 Spray & Cook spray on your counter top, this will prevent the walnuts from sticking to any surface. 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 on your sprayed countertop. You can add chili flakes at the end if you would like some heat.
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