It’s an indication of fall when juicy, succulent and delightful pears appear in gift baskets and produce carts. For CMM’s first wine pairing series, we begin with a difficult situation: pairing fruits with wine. Having narrowed it down to our fruit of choice, not only are we suggesting great wines that complement the flavors of different pear varieties, but we are also supplying you with three palate-pleasing recipes to go with each course of the night. It’s a pear pairing party!
Raventos L’hereu Cava, 2012, $19.99
“Cava is Spain’s answer to champagne. This dry sparkling wine would be a fantastic complement to a fruit salad due to its bright acidity that will help offset the sweetness of the maple, while the pears will bring the wine’s fruit to the forefront.” — Bryan Della Volpe, wine and cigar manager at The Gourmet Shop.
Testarossa Chardonnay Cuvee 107, $19.99
“This elegant medium-bodied wine with subtle notes of honeysuckle, pear, fig and melon has a smooth creamy and lightly buttery finish. The flavors will pull out the pear and fig tones, and the creamy finish will compliment the bacon and brie.” — Cliff White, store manager at Total Wine and More.
Laurent-Perrier Demi-Sec (non-vintage), $43.99
“The dominant flavors of the wine complement the Autumn tree fruit theme of the dessert, and the finely beaded effervescence keeps the sweetness in balance, keeping the diner’s palate lively and alert.” — James Alford, wine buyer at Morganelli’s.
Pear and Maple Vinaigrette Salad
A simple salad with an interesting dressing and fruit.
1/4 cup real maple syrup or maple-flavored syrup
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
1/3 cup pecan halves
8 cups torn mixed salad greens
3 medium Bartlett pears, peeled, cut into wedges
1/3 cup sweetened dried cranberries
In a small bowl, mix all vinaigrette ingredients except oil with a wire whisk. Beat in oil until blended. Place pecans in a 1-cup glass measuring cup. Microwave on high 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds until browned. Divide salad greens among six serving plates. Arrange pear wedges on greens; sprinkle with pecans and cranberries. Drizzle vinaigrette over salads.
Pear and Bacon Grilled Cheese
The American classic made glamorous yet still comforting.
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons currant or fig jam
2 slices of bread, your choice
2 ounces brie cheese, thinly sliced
2 slices cooked bacon
1/4 small Anjou pear, thinly sliced
Melt butter in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Spread the jam on one slice of bread and form a sandwich with the cheese, bacon and pear. Cook sandwich covered, until the bread is toasted and the cheese is melted, 2 to 3 minutes per side.
The perfect mixture of sweet and stimulating.
3 tablespoons butter, softened
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar, divided
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup walnuts, finely chopped
1 package (8 ounces) reduced-fat cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 green Bosc pears, sliced thin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
In a small bowl, beat butter and 1/2 cup of sugar for 2 minutes, or until crumbly. Beat in flour and nuts. Press into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom coated with cooking spray. In another bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Beat in 1/4 cup sugar, egg and vanilla; spread over the crust. Arrange pears over cream cheese mixture.
Combine the cinnamon and remaining sugar; sprinkle over pears. Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees; bake 15 to 20 minutes longer or until filling is set and a thermometer reads 160 degrees. Cool for 1 hour on a wire rack. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving. Remove sides of pan and slice.