Roasted Pears with Whipped Goat Cheese & Pine Nut Brittle
Roasted pears transform into an elegant, gluten-free cheese course-meets-dessert with vanilla-infused whipped goat cheese and a sweet, sophisticated pine nut brittle fused with maple syrup. Each component can be made a few days ahead of when you want to serve it; ideal for entertaining.
4 ripe Bartlett or Bosc pears, halved and cored
1 cinnamon stick
pear juice or apple juice, as needed
Maple Pine Nut Brittle
½ cup pine nuts
¼ cup maple syrup
½ teaspoon fine-grain salt
Whipped Goat Cheese
3 oz fresh goat cheese, room temperature
⅓ cup heavy whipping cream (at least 35% milk fat)
2 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey, to taste (optional)
2 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
1 – Roasted Pears
- Preheat oven to 375ºF. In a 9×13-inch baking dish, add pears flesh side up and tuck in cinnamon stick. Add a splash (about 3 tablespoon to ¼ cup) pear or apple juice, and bake uncovered for 30 to 35 minutes, or until tender when pierced with a knife. Set aside and leave oven on. If making ahead, once cool, store roasted pears airtight in the refrigerator for a couple of days.
2 – Maple Pine Nut Brittle
- On a large rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper, toss pine nuts with maple syrup and salt. Spread mixture in an even layer and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on the baking sheet. The mixture will crisp as it cools. If it’s not snappy once completely cool, pop it back in the hot oven for a few minutes and then cool again; it will get crisp. If making ahead, once cool, store the brittle loosely covered at room temperature for a couple of days.
3 – Whipped Goat Cheese
- In a medium bowl, whisk goat cheese until smooth. Whisk in cream, honey or maple syrup if using, lemon juice, and vanilla, beating until smooth, creamy, and thickened, 2 to 3 minutes by hand. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve, or for a couple of days if making ahead.
- Add pears to shallow bowls or plates, top each pear half with a dollop of whipped goat cheese, and break over pine nut brittle in shards. Serve immediately; the brittle softens shortly after it hits the pears, so eat up.