One of the best seasonal fruits in the fall is the pear. It tends to take a backseat to fruit like apples or even nuts like pecans or worst, veggies like pumpkin.
I’m so sorry, pumpkin fans, I am not in your club. I am in the squash-loving club, but alas, the pumpkin pies, pumpkin spice cakes and breads, or PSLs are lost on me. Just, no. Not that you care, but I just don’t like all the intense spices typically used with pumpkin. They make me seriously suspect pumpkin that must taste awful alone (I know it doesn’t, which is sadder!), otherwise why would anyone dump so much allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg and everything else to mask its flavor?!
Okay, rant over. So sorry – I digress.
I am, however, one of the BIGGEST fan of pears. I’m not such a huge fan though, that I could eat a three pound bag like I recently purchased at the grocery store thinking it was a great deal. It was a great deal, but it’s a lot of pear.
So I decided to experiment a bit with them and have created a new favorite fall side dish that is incredibly easy to make and will certainly wow any dinner party. This was a huge hit with my family Saturday brunch!
And you don’t even need nutmeg or allspice.
Goat Cheese Stuffed Pears with Walnuts & Cranberries
– 5 medium sized pears, preferably a firmer varietal such as Bartlett or Anjou
– 8-10 oz goat cheese (I really love Trader Joe’s Herbed Goat Cheese log)
– 1 c chopped walnuts
– 1 c dried cranberries
– 10 TB brandy or cognac (1 TB per pear half)
– 1 c arugula (optional for plating)
– 1/2 c pomegranate seeds (optional topping)
1. Preheat oven to 375°. Cut each pear in half lengthwise. Using a melon baller or sharp paring knife, remove the seeds and about half of the meat of the pears, creating a ‘bowl’ shape.
2. In a medium sized bowl, combine the goat cheese, chopped walnuts and dried cranberries. Mix with a large spoon or fork until well blended.
3. Using a large spoon, scoop the cheese mixture and squeeze in your palm to form a round shape. Stuff each rounded scoop into the pears, and add more cheese as needed to distribute the cheese stuffing evenly.
4. Place the pear halves into a 13×9 baking dish. Pour 1 TB of brandy over each stuffed pear.
5. Bake the pears in the oven’s middle rack for 20 minutes, or just until the cheese stuffing begins to slightly brown.
6. Remove from the oven and cool for five minutes before plating.
7. Serve pears on a bed of arugula and top with pomegranate seeds.