Roasted pears with herbed goat cheese, bacon & honey

There is a certain time of year we all long for, the one that makes us feel most alive and connected to each other. Doesn’t it always sneak up on us like a cat creeping around the corner? Summer lazily morphs into October, which overflows into November and then poof, it’s Thanksgiving, and then a day later, it’s Christmas and then oh…hey, New Years, it’s 2013. This time of year is for feasting, it’s for family and friends and it’s for love. It’s for kinda boozy weekday parties and boozier weekend soirees, the ones you get to finally bust out that evening dress, where you’ll actually do your hair and spritz some perfume.

But if you’re like me, perhaps you’re not feeling those swanky get togethers, and at-home-chillage with some friends and wine is where your head and heart belong. Maybe this warrants some appetizers? Of course there will be appetizers. And when you start thinking of tiny noshes to allure your guests, aim to please your guests with these, which are divinity on a plate, a first course that easily bulldozes most prepackaged anything and will no doubt delight your guests so much so that it might make them never want to leave your house. That’s okay, this time of year is also for slumber parties. Ambrosial, delicate pears become sweeter with roasting, a sweetness that’s then offset by piquant goat cheese, land-infused herbs and olive oil, salt city bacon, and lastly, a light showering of honey to round things out. It’s like a macarena with each bite, without even putting your hands up. You can save that for the other party.

These fancy pants roasted pears have been in my appetizer repertoire for years. When I was in college, my roommate and I fell so deeply in love with them that our appetites couldn’t wait for us to bake them. We’d gluttonously spoon the creamy filling into our mouths with the crunchy little pears or crackers or rice cakes or whatever we could find in our pantry. Don’t be like my college self; I urge you to be patient when you prepare them, because the roasting is what softens the pears up as they become a vehicle for goat cheese heaven. You will definitely have some of the cheese leftover after you forcefully stuff the pears with as much of it as the little pear hole you dug can handle. Let’s aim for a tiny mountain.

Roasted pears with herbed goat cheese, bacon & honey

Inspired by Tyler Florence

Serves 8 as an appetizer or first course

Notes: Tyler suggests buying baby pears, which are about two inches in diameter. I have been both successful and unsuccessful in finding these. If you can find the babies, go right ahead and use them and serve each guest two pieces. If not, feel free to use normal sized pears, and serve one piece to each guest.

Variety of the pears is up to you. I like using the Anjou because of their plump, round shape. Bosc pears will work too but their elongated shape might make it more difficult to get your filling in there. And in my case, I usually want a lot

Ripeness of the pears is pretty crucial here. Most supermarket pears will take 2-3 days to reach optimal taste. I suggest using pears that are pretty soft to the touch, ones that you’d feel comfortable eating on their own ie do not crunch like an apple. Even if they’re baked the pears will still have that crunch and we want a soft, glidy feeling when we bite into them. It’s more luxurious, no?

If you do have leftover filling, it’s nice to serve with crackers.


4 ounces bacon (about 6 slices)

4 large or 8 small pears

8 ounces fresh goat cheese, at room temperature

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced (or any herb of your choosing – if using dried, reduce the amount to 1 1/2 teaspoons)

Salt and freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons honey


Set oven at 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place the bacon slices on it. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until the bacon reaches your desired crispness level. Let cool a bit and chop finely. Leave the oven on.

In a medium bowl, mix the goat cheese, olive oil, thyme, and bacon with a fork until combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Cut the pears in half lengthwise and remove their cores with a melon baller or paring knife. Cut the back of each pear half a bit so it’s able to lie flat as it bakes and the filling will stay nice and put. Spoon the goat cheese mixture evenly into each pear, mounding the top slightly. Bake until the pears are soft and cheese is slightly browned, about 15 minutes. Drizzle with the honey and serve warm.





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