Pears with Blue Cheese

It is a great harvest this summer. We have plums and pears clinging precariously to the branches of the fruit trees waiting for the wind, squirrels or our incredibly greedy dog, Charlie, to strip the trees bare. So my thoughts on food have been about how best to use these delicious fruits before anything else finishes them off (other than simply pick them off the tree and munch them in situ). This canapé uses pears, although admittedly this quantity only requires one pear …… but it's a start.

Ingredients - makes 12

I medium pear

50 gm blue cheese - stronger is better (Stilton is a vegetarian option)

100 gm caster sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla essence

Filo pastry

Groundnut oil or other mild flavoured oil

12 whole almonds

Fresh thyme

Equipment: one 12 piece mini tartlet tin

Method

Measure 100ml water into a small saucepan, add the sugar. Heat until the sugar has melted to make a sugar syrup. Add 1/2 tsp vanilla essence.

Peel and core the pear. Chop into approximately 1cm cubes. Add to the sugar syrup and cook until tender. Cool.

Take a sheet of filo and cut strips approximately 5cm wide. Then cut across the strips at 5 cm intervals. You should end up with squares of approximately 5 cm. Keep all the filo not being used under cling film to stop it drying out.

Heat the oven to 190c

Brush two squares of filo generously with oil and press one, oil side down, into the mini tartlet tin. Cover this with the other square, set at an angle. Press carefully but firmly into the tin. Continue to fill the tin.

Put a good layer of cool pear cubes into each tin (I used 5 or 6 cubes) and cover this with some crumbled cheese.

Cook for 10 minutes.

Remove from the oven and, when cool enough to handle, put the tartlets on a wire rack to cool.

Pop an almond on top and sprinkle some fresh thyme leaves over.

Either store covered in the fridge for up to 24 hours, or cook on a baking sheet for another 5 minutes and serve.

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