Stuffed fruits are very common in Mediterranean cooking. Serve them as a snack or an aperitif, as a first dish or as a side dish. Use firm fruits to avoid their falling apart while cooking. Because apple and pears when cut fresh tend to get darker due to oxidation, blanch them immediately with lemon or white wine when handling. Here is a recipe for a baked pear, using the advantage of the fabulous taste of Berkshire Blue cheese.
Yield: 4 servings
4 pears, peeled (optional), cut in half and core removed*
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup white wine
For the stuffing:
½ cup Berkshire Blue cheese, crumbled
2 tablespoons cream cheese**
1/3 cup nuts, diced***
1 tablespoon breadcrumbs****
Preheat oven to 350° F.
Set pears in a baking dish with their open sides up. Pour wine on and around the pears. Sprinkle nutmeg on the pears. Cover the baking dish and bake for 20– 30 minutes, until pears are tender but not too soft.
In a bowl, combine blue cheese, cream cheese, nuts and breadcrumbs. Mix well. When pears are ready, take the baking dish out of the oven. Spoon some of the leftover wine from the baking dish over the pears, and fill pears with the cheese mixture. Return pears in baking dish (uncovered) to the oven, and bake for 10 more minutes.
* To peel or not to peel, that is a long discussion: Peeling pears is a lot of work, and the peel has nourishing value. If you peel the pears the dish needs less time and oven energy to bake, and pears absorb the wine better.
** I sometimes use thick Greek-style yogurt instead of cream cheese.
*** For variation, use almonds, pine nuts, pistachio or cashews.
**** Use quinoa flax instead to make it gluten free or just more nutritious.
With a background in agronomy, botany, ecology and coaching, Israeli-born food coach Yael Dolev wants everyone to enjoy wellness via delicious food. Yael was an editor at Food & Kitchen magazine, worked as a consultant and cook in kitchens including Bennington Meals on Wheels and she is an active member of Bennington Farm to Plate Council.