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St.-André Cheese with Ginger Pears

St.-André Cheese with Ginger Pears
Spicy-sweet pears marry beautifully with the luxurious St.-André cheese. Select Bartlett, Bosc or Anjou pears. If St.-André cheese is unavailable, use another French triple-cream cheese, such as Brillat-Savarin or Explorateur.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. firm but ripe pears, peeled, cored and cut
      into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 3 Tbs. cider vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 3 Tbs. finely chopped crystallized ginger
  • 1 wedge (3/4 lb.) St.-André cheese, at room
      temperature
  • About 30 baguette slices, each 1/2 inch thick

Directions:

In a small, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the pears, brown sugar, vinegar and cardamom. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar, then boil, stirring frequently, until the liquid thickens to a thick syrup and coats the pears, about 8 minutes. Mix in the crystallized ginger. Transfer to a small bowl and let cool briefly.

Arrange the bowl of ginger pears and the wedge of cheese on a platter. Accompany with the bread slices. Diners spread the cheese on the bread and top with the warm or room-temperature pears.
Serves 10.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Lifestyles Series, After Dinner, by Kristine Kidd (Time-Life Books, 1998).