Some of my best memories involve entertaining in the fall.
Cool evenings out on the deck, with wine, blankets and laughter. The deep rustic flavors of harvest produce, fresh from the farm. Glistening smiles by the light of a backyard fire pit. Apples, pumpkins and pears.
For me, cherished memories of friends and family always spark a desire to make the most of this season's bounty.
We recently spent a day at an apple orchard. After hours of picking and meandering through the trees, we discovered some hidden rows of pear trees at the back of the orchard, heavy with fruit. We bit into the tender pears, then quickly wiped the dripping juice off our faces and topped our baskets with ripe pears.
Fresh fall apples are a real treat, but the pears were a welcomed bonus at the end of a long day.
I decided to use them for my first fall dinner party, to celebrate autumn.
It's always a good idea to have something ready to nibble, when your guests arrive. These mini pear and blue cheese tarts are a wonderful party snack because they are savory-sweet and loaded with fall flavors.
Sauteing the onions and pears together with a touch of cinnamon, brings out the sweetness in both. While the toasted walnuts provide texture and rich nuttiness, the blue cheese offers a pungent bite to balance the sweetness.
All this goodness packaged in crispy Athens Mini Fillo Cups, makes a fabulous finger food to serve at your next gathering.
Of course you can swap out the pears for apples, if you prefer. Yet I find the creamy texture and sweetness of pears is the perfect pearing to the bitterness of the walnuts and bite of the blue cheese.
These Pear and Blue Cheese Strudels can also be made-ahead and placed in the freezer for later use. Making them even more enticing as your go-to party snack this season!
YIELD: 30 MINI STRUDELS
PREP TIME: 20 MINUTES
COOK TIME: 8 MINUTES
Pear and Blue Cheese Strudel
- 2 boxes Athens® Mini Fillo Shells
- 2 ripe (but firm) pears, diced
- 1/2 small onion, diced
- 2 Tb. butter
- 1/3 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
- 3/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
- Salt and pepper
- Chopped chives for garnish
- Heat the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, and saute for 1-2 minutes. Then add the pears and saute another 3-4 minutes until just barely soft. Toss in the cinnamon and salt and pepper to taste.
- Mix the blue cheese and walnuts in a bowl. Fill each mini fillo cup with pear mixture, then top with the blue cheese mixture and gently place on a baking sheet. Holding the mini shells over the blue cheese bowl, while topping, helps eliminate the mess.
- Turn on the broiler and raise a rack to the top position. Place the baking sheet on the top rack and watch carefully--they burn fast. Remove when the blue cheese is melting and the walnuts are slightly toasted--1-2 minutes. Sprinkle with chive and serve!