Spiced pears with stilton and walnut pâté recipe

This exquisitely fancy and ornate starter will set a classy mood, should you desire one

For the spiced pears

  • 125g soft brown sugar
  • 300ml dry cider
  • 500ml of red wine
  • 100ml cider vinegar
  • 12 cloves and 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Pared zest and juice of half a lemon
  • 3 hard round pears

For the pâté

  • 40g walnut halves
  • 50g blue Stilton, crumbled
  • 25g unsalted butter, softened
  • 100g cream cheese
  • ½ tbsp lemon juice
  • 50g grated Parmesan
  • Mixed salad leaves, to serve

For the dressing

  • 3 tbsp of double cream
  • 1 tbsp of cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp of lemon juice
  • 1 tsp of dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp of milk

METHOD

How to make spiced pears with Stilton and walnut pâté

1. To cook the pears, place the sugar, cider, red wine, vinegar, spices, bay leaves, lemon juice and zest in a large pan with 300ml of water.

2. Bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar, and simmer for 10 minutes.

3. Peel the pears and cut in half lengthways through the stalk. Use a teaspoon or melon ball scoop to scoop out the core.

4. Add the pear halves to the poaching liquid, then cover and simmer for 25 minutes or until tender, turning half-way through.

5. Lift the pears out carefully as they will be very soft, allow them to cool and place in the fridge.

6. Pre-heat the oven to 200°C. Toast the walnuts in the oven for 5 to 6 minutes. Reserve 6 walnuts for garnish, sealed in a container, and roughly chop the remainder.

7. Blend the Stilton, Parmesan, butter, cream cheese and lemon juice in a food processor until smooth.

8. Stir in the chopped walnuts and chill in the fridge until needed.

9. When ready to serve, divide the salad leaves onto six plates. Make the dressing by whisking the cream, vinegar, lemon juice, mustard and milk together and drizzle over the salad leaves.

10. Place a drained pear half on each plate, then spoon the pâté into the centre of each pear. Decorate each with a walnut half.

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Wednesday 19 December 2007
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