Pears and Gorgonzola are a classic flavour pairing. These Pear Gorgonzola bites are not your classic way to use them, however. Often they are baked together in a flatbread. Or tossed in a salad. These incredibly tasty little morsels are a different way to enjoy that delicious and classic combination.
I was given a huge bag of pears, and it's been a challenge figuring out what to do with them. Did you know that pears are one of the few fruits that get harvested unripe? If left on the tree to ripen, they ripen from the inside first, so by the time the outside is soft, the pear is overripe. That's why they are always hard when you buy them in the store, and it's a good idea to plan ahead when you need pears for a recipe.
My pears are still unripe a week after harvest. So to speed it up a bit, I put some in a brown paper bag. Then popped a ripe apple in there with them. Another, “did you know”: apples release a ripening hormone, called ethylene, which helps to ripen other fruits around them. Nature is amazing. Viola, two days later I had pears that were the exact ripeness. I wanted them sweet, but still fairly firm for baking. For eating fresh, I would have left them in the bag for another day.
I was making these pear Gorgonzola bites as an appetizer for a gathering this Thanksgiving weekend. I was unsure of how they would turn out, so I did them a couple of days ahead of time. They turned out much better than I expected. Along with toasted walnuts, fresh rosemary and black pepper, these little pear and Gorgonzola bites are a treat for the taste buds. In fact we just couldn't stop eating them. So I had to make another batch.
I baked these in mini muffin tins. They are crisp and golden on the outside with a tender interior. Adding a few grinds of black pepper balanced the saltiness of the cheese. The only sweetness comes from the pears, which keep their flavour even after baking. They are delicious warm from the oven, but just as good cold. And a perfect fall inspired appetizer. Serve them along side fresh grapes and a selection of more cheeses.
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
- 1 cup Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
- 1/4 cup toasted walnuts, chopped
- 3 medium pears, peeled cored and chopped
- juice of half a lemon
- 1 1/4 cup 2% milk (or non dairy milk, such as rice or almond milk)
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1/4 cup butter, melted
- Pre heat oven to 350° Unless using non stick, lightly coat a mini muffin tin with cooking spray
- In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, pepper, rosemary, and cheese
- In another bowl combine milk, egg, butter, lemon juice and pears
- Add the milk / egg mixture to the dry ingredients, combining quickly with a few swift strokes so as not to overmix.
- Use a tablespoon or a melon baller to fill muffin cups with batter
- Bake in center of oven 15-20 minutes until golden
- Cool slightly on a rack and serve warm, or allow to cool completely and store in an airtight container in the fridge until serving
To reheat, wrap these in foil and put in a 200° oven until warmed through. Pear Gorgonzola Bites can be frozen in a sealed, airtight plastic bag or container for up to 2 months.