Valentine’s Day Dessert: Light comfort with a touch of savory and elegance

Valentine’s Day is almost here! I know some consider it a “Hallmark Holiday” but, what can I say, I am lover! I like the fact that there is a day to celebrate love and friendship. I know I have a lot to celebrate considering that I married my best friend!

A&DThis year is going to be extra special as we’ll be heading up to Napa Valley for the weekend. I love visiting “Wine Country” and experience what the region has to offer—delicious wines, amazing food, landscapes, character, and nature.

I am the guest chef at this year’s Royal Hearts Gala at the Castello di Amorosa Vineyards in Calistoga and I’ve designed a delicious 4-course pairing dinner for the event. The place, the music, the setting… this is set to be one romantic evening and a fun weekend.

I wanted to share this special dish with you. A dessert with a touch of savory that is elegant, figure-friendly, and very beautiful. Are you cooking for a special someone? Are you hosting a dinner party? This dessert is very easy to make but it will make you look like a pro. Make sure to pick a good quality roquefort cheese—it really makes all the difference!

Roasted pear with walnut-brioche stuffing, honey creme fraiche and crumbled Roquefort

Ingredients
  • 4 red pears, peeled, halved, carefully cored (use melon scoop)
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup brioche bread, crumbles or small dice
  • ½ cup packed walnuts, chopped
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ tsp fine sea salt
  • ½ tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1 small egg, beaten
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • Canola oil spray
  • ½ cup creme fraiche
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp crumbled Roquefort cheese

Chef Alejandra Schrader's Roasted Pear

Preparation

Preheat oven at 350° F

Drizzle lemon juice all over freshly peeled pears and rub all over with hands to prevent them from turning brown.

In a large bowl combine brioche, walnuts, brown sugar, sea salt, cinnamon powder, beaten egg, and milk. Mix all ingredients into well incorporated and allow resting for 10 minutes. Knead mixture with hands and separate into 8 equal parts, pressing between hands to create balls. Set aside.

Stuff each pear half with a portion of the brioche-walnut mixture using hands to round up the tops. Place on baking tray one by one; spray all pears lightly with canola oil. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until pears are soft and stuffing is golden brown.

In a small bowl combine creme fraiche and honey.

Plating

Using a spoon, serve some of the mixture on the bottom of each plate. Place a pear on each plate and top with some crumbles of Roquefort cheese.

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