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Pears with Gorgonzola Cream

This is a lovely decorative fruit dish for a buffet brunch or dessert. It can all be made 24 hours ahead and assembled at the last minute.

3 large hard-ripe Bartlett or Anjou pears, halved, skins and cores removed,
and dropped in acidulated water to prevent darkening
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup Marsala wine
3/4 cup white sugar
One small piece of lemon peel (yellow zest only)
1/2 cup grated or broken up Gorgonzola cheese
1/2 cup cream cheese
1/2 cup cream
1/2 cup slivered almonds

Make poaching liquid from water, Marsala wine, 1/2 cup white sugar, and lemon peel. Bring to a boil, then lower to barely simmering. Carefully place pears in the hot liquid, and simmer until JUST tender. Do not over cook! Chill pears in the poaching liquid several hours or overnight.

Make the topping: Soften cheeses together in microwave or a warm spot in the kitchen, then add 1/4 cup sugar and cream and whip until smooth. Chill (you may wish to whip again before serving).

Toast almonds lightly and set aside.

To serve, put 1/2 pear plus a little of the poaching liquid in each of 6 pretty serving glasses or bowls; put a dollop of cheese topping on each pear and sprinkle with the toasted almonds.

Serves: 6