Pear Compote with Cheeses
You will find many good-quality commercial compotes or chutneys at the market today, especially those made with fruits such as mango or apple. Either would be a good substitution in this recipe. Other cheeses such as Jarlsberg, mild goat cheese or Manchego would make a nice addition to this arrangement.
To make the crostini, preheat an oven to 350°F. Arrange twenty-four 1/2-inch-thick baguette slices on a baking sheet and brush lightly with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Bake until golden, 10 to 15 minutes.
- 2 pears such as Bartlett or Bosc, peeled, quartered, cored and coarsely chopped
- 1 star anise or cinnamon stick
- 2 1/2 Tbs. fruity white wine such as Riesling
- 1 Tbs. sugar, or to taste
- 4 oz. aged pecorino romano cheese
- 4 oz. Maytag or other blue cheese
- About 24 toasted crostini (see note above) or large crackers
Cook the pears
In a fry pan over medium-low heat, combine the pears, star anise, wine and sugar. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pears are almost falling apart, about 12 minutes. Let cool to warm room temperature. (The compote may be refrigerated for up to 8 hours; bring it to room temperature before serving.)
Arrange the platter
Transfer the compote to a bowl and place on a large platter. Arrange the cheeses and crostini around the compote and serve. Alternatively, layer a slice of cheese and a dollop of compote on each crostini, arrange on a serving platter and serve. Makes about 24 pieces.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast Series, Small Plates, by Brigit L. Binns (Oxmoor House, 2007).