December is Pear month! Enjoy this in-season fruit with cheese and possibly a little wine over the holidays. A pear that has a dense texture (like Bosc, Bartlett, and underripe Anjou) are the best choices. They maintain their shape and don’t add too much moisture to recipes.
Select pears that are:
- Continue to ripen after purchase
Testing for ripeness: You can’t judge by color!
- Check the neck – simply apply gentle pressure with your thumb to the neck of the pear near the stem. A ripe pear will yield slightly to gentle pressure.
- Store ripe pears in the refrigerator for three to five days.
- 1 c. diced USA pears
- ¼ c. crumbled blue cheese
- 1 Tablespoon coarsely chopped toasted hazelnuts
- 1 Tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
- ¼ teaspoon dried thyme leaves, crushed
- 1/8 teaspoon ground pepper
- 8 (8 ½ x6 ½ x ½ -inch) sheets phyllo dough
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- Pear slices (optional)
- Thyme sprigs (optional)
Combine pears, blue cheese, hazelnuts, parsley, thyme, and pepper; mix well. Place phyllo between waxed paper and cover with towel. Working with 1 sheet at a time, cut into three 8 ½ x 3 ¼ - inch strips. Fold each strip in half; brush with oil. Place 1 Tablespoon pear mixture in a small mound on one end of phyllo strip. Fold into triangle making sure filling remains completely enclosed. Brush with oil to prevent drying. Place on greased baking sheet. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Bake at 400 degrees 10 minutes or until crisp and golden. Garnish with pear slices and thyme sprigs, if desired.
Makes 24 appetizers.
Source: The Ultimate Guide to Pears, Cheese & Wine, Pear Bureau Northwest.