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Pairing apples, pears and cheese for fresh fare

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Preparing ingredients for Bosc Blue Cheese cups. (Image courtesy of Chelan Fresh)

Pairing fruit with cheese is classic for a reason. It’s absolutely delicious! Chelan Fresh shares some tasty recipes with readers of GoLakeChelan.com.

There are so many varieties of apple and pear, so have fun mixing and matching them with all the different types of cheese out there.

Here are some fun combinations:

  • Honeycrisp apples are wonderful with tart, firm or semi-firm cheeses like cheddar or smoked gouda
  • Granny Smith apples pair beautifully with soft mild cheeses such as brie or camembert
  • Fuji apples work best with firm, aged, tart cheeses like pecorino, parmesan and manchego
  • D’Anjou pears are delectable paired with a creamy, tangy goat cheese
  • Bartlett pears are stunning when paired with salty brined cheeses such as feta and halloumi
  • Bosc pears sing when combined with soft or semi-soft blue cheeses like roquefort, stilton and gorgonzola

Hot or cold, raw or cooked, there are endless ways to bring together pears, apples, and cheese. Here are two recipe suggestions for fun cooking with apples and pears.

Bosc Blue Cheese Radicchio Cups. (Image courtesy of Chelan Fresh)

Bosc Blue Cheese Radicchio Cups (Yield: 6-8 lettuce cups)

Ingredients:

1 small head of radicchio

2 medium Bosc pears, firm but ripe, diced (about 3 cups)

1/2 cup dried cherries, roughly chopped

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

5 oz. blue cheese, crumbled

1/2 tablespoon honey plus more for garnish

1 teaspoon of fresh thyme leaves plus more for garnish

1/4 cup toasted hazelnuts, chopped

Instructions:

  1. To prepare the radicchio cups; slice the head of radicchio in half and carefully un-peel the outer leaves off until you have about 8 little cups that will hold filling. Reserve the rest of the radicchio for another dish. Set the lettuce cups in ice water while you prepare the filling so they stay crisp.
  2. To prepare the filling; add the diced pears, dried cherries, honey, fresh thyme leaves and lemon juice to a medium bowl and toss to coat. Add the crumbled blue cheese into the bowl and toss gently so the cheese does not break up too much.
  3. To assemble; drain the radicchio cups and arrange on a serving platter. Add about a 1/4 cup (more or less depending on the size of your lettuce cups) of the pear mixture to each radicchio cup. Sprinkle with the toasted hazelnuts, additional thyme leaves and finish with a drizzle of honey if desired.
  4. Serve immediately, the filling does not keep well.

NOTE: If you are not one for bitter lettuce, switch out the radicchio for a milder lettuce, such as butter lettuce or romaine.

Apple Blue Cheese Triangles. (Image courtesy of Chelan Fresh)

Apple Blue Cheese Triangles (YIELD: 12 pieces)

Ingredients:

12 sheets of phyllo dough

1/4 cup walnuts, chopped

1/2 cup Medjool dates, pitted and chopped

1 cup Gala apple, peeled, cored and diced

1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon honey

Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

6 oz. crumbled blue cheese or gorgonzola

1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed (optional)

Melted butter or baking spray for brushing dough

Instructions:

  1. For frozen phyllo dough defrost in the refrigerator overnight or follow the package instructions for defrosting.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Combine the walnuts, dates, apples, lemon juice, honey, nutmeg, fennel seed if using and cheese in a mixing bowl and gently mix until uniform and holds together well, your hands work well here.
  4. Prepare the phyllo dough; lay one sheet of phyllo on a work surface, drizzle the surface with melted butter (or spritz with baking spray), lay another sheet on top and drizzle or spray the top again, repeat until you have four sheets in a stack ending with a drizzle of butter on the last sheet. (NOTE: Phyllo dough can dry out quickly and become brittle so keep your remaining phyllo sheets covered with a damp towel at all times.) Cut the stack of dough in half lengthwise then into quarters, until you have 4 long strips.
  5. Assemble the triangles; place a heaping tablespoon of the filling on the end of one dough strip and fold over to form a triangle (the bottom of the strip is even with the side). Continue flip flopping the triangle back and forth to the end, like folding a flag. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment or greased, and brush with melted butter one last time. Repeat with remaining 3 strips.
  6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 two more times, you will end up with 12 triangles total.
  7. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the triangles are golden brown on top. Let cool slightly and serve. Phyllo dough is best eaten the day it is baked, so eat up!

(By Elizabeth Williams, Chelan Fresh/Edited by Jillian Foster)

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