Friday, October 31, 2014

Pear and camembert bites

Pear & Camembert Bites drizzled with Balsamic Reduction.. Sounds fancy? Most definitely. It tastes even more gourmet than it sounds - its delicate, but still complex and sophisticated flavors will win you over!

Blog's Category: Hors D'oeuvre, Vegetarian





Intro

The classy combination of pear and cheese is the base for this bite-type appetizer. Don't be intimidated by fancy "balsamic reduction" words. Most likely you can find balsamic reduction in a large grocery store. But I highly recommend to make it by yourself - it's very easy: cup or two of balsamic vinegar simmers for about 1 hour until reduces in half and transforms into thick, sweet and flavorful, sauce - balsamic reduction. 

The remaining is a pure fun - slicing, building, drizzling, serving... That's why I like making hors d'oeuvres, crostini, mini-sandwiches and such. It's more like a game than actual cooking... Just find that perfect combination of ingredients! In our case this perfect combination is here - pear, camembert, caramelized pecan and balsamic reduction. I love it. When I served it to my friends - they loved it. Try it and, I hope, you will love it as well!


What is it?

Stock of pear slice, camembert and caramelized pecan artistically drizzled with balsamic reduction. That's all!


Taste Description

Fruity flavors are always win-win pairing for such cheeses as camembert or brie. Intense pear taste with a sweet and tangy balsamic reduction lays perfectly over creamy camembert. Pecan makes this combo shine even better. Complex textures, from crunchy pecan through dense pear all the way to the creaminess of a cheese, make each bite a real pleasure.


How to Serve/Store

Serve on a white ceramic shallow dish. Bold streaks of balsamic reduction will look festive on a white plate.


Pear, Camembert and Caramelized Pecan with Balsamic Reduction 


  • 2 pears, peeled and sliced into 1/2" slices (see pictures below)
  • 1 cup of pecan halves
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 small 4" wheel of camembert, sliced  into 1/3" (see pictures below)
- Prepare balsamic reduction - in a small pot, bring balsamic vinegar to a boil. Turn heat down and simmer to reduce it in half. It make take from 30 min to 1 hour. Reduced, it will look like as a syrup. Cooled down, it will become thicker. Set aside to cool down completely.

- Prepare caramelized pecan: in a skillet or shallow pan, spread brown sugar in an even layer. Place pecans over it. Heat on a medium-low heat until sugar melts. Using chopsticks or fork, turn pecan halves over to submerge other side into caramel. Control heat turning it down to avoid caramel to be burnt. After done with flipping, start to transfer pecans, flat side down, onto silicon mat to cool down. If you don't have silicon mat, use non-stick parchment paper.

- Fun part - assembling! On a serving plate, build stocks: pear, then camembert, then pecan.

- With a teaspoon, drizzle balsamic reduction over.

- Enjoy!



Notes

- If you are in a hurry - don't peel a pear! 

- Other day, I tried to serve this appetizer on a top of flat pretzel crisps. They were good but somehow they lost their charm. So, do exactly as described above and success is yours :)



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IN PICTURES




It's pure magic to see how just being simmered balsamic vinegar transforms into sweet and tangy syrup. Acidity disappears and vinegar thickens beautifully.

In a fridge, balsamic reduction can be stored practically indefinitely. You can use it later drizzling over cooked meat, poultry, salads, etc.