2.10.2018

All Hail, Genovia!

The Princess Diaries. Location: Genovia. National fruit: The Genovian Pear.

Seriously, who doesn’t want to live in a fantasy world these days? I’d rather be in one governed by Julie Andrews, Hector Elizondo, and Anne Hathaway than by... well, you finish the sentence. But I digress…

It is the Genovian Pear - or, actually, the red Anjou pear - that inspired today’s recipe. This has nothing to do with the watching Princess Diaries last night. Maybe.

Pears and blue cheese are a very traditional combination. There is such comfort in having them together with a glass of port after dinner. A salad of pears, blue cheese, and walnuts are the sumptuous side of winter.

Why not bring this all together and make one incredible first course? Voilà! These blue cheese and pear timbales on spinach with walnuts.

This is a very simple yet elegant dish for Valentine's Day. Any creamy blue cheese will work, although I used the wonderful goat blue cheese made by my friends at Fiore di Capra.

Blue cheeses can be difficult to pair with wine; I suggest something on the sweet side: - a Premiere Grives Tariquet (white or rosé), Sauternes, late-harvest Riesling, etc.

Happy Valentine's Day to all!

~ David

Goat Blue and Pear Timbales


butter for the ramekins
parchment
2 5-inch sprigs rosemary, leaves only
1/2 teaspoon white peppercorns
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons cream
4 ounces blue goat cheese, or other blue cheese
2 eggs
salt
1/2 firm-ripe pear, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
baby spinach leaves, about 8-10 per serving
4 whole walnut halves, plus chopped walnuts, for garnish
floral honey for drizzling


Preheat oven to 325°F. Butter 4 3/4-cup ramekins, and line the bottom with a round of parchment. Lightly butter the parchment. Set a kettle of water to heat on the back burner.

Using a spice grinder, pulverize the rosemary leaves and white peppercorns into a fine dust. Place about 1/2 teaspoon in each ramekin; tilt and swirl to coat the bottoms. Divide the remaining rosemary-pepper mixture among the four ramekins and shake to distribute evenly. Place in the bottom of a 9-inch square baking pan. Set aside.

Cut goat cheese into two pieces. Crumble one, and cut the other into cubes, Place cream and crumbled cheese into a large bowl and whisk until smooth and thick - the cheese will not fully dissolve but you will notice a difference. Add eggs and a pinch of salt. Whisk again. Then gently stir in the cheese cubes.

Divide the cheese mixture among the 4 ramekins, then divide the pear cubes among the four and press them down into the cheese mixture.

Place pan with the filled ramekins in the oven and carefully pour boiling water from the kettle around the ramekins until it comes 3/4 of the way up the outsides.

Bake for 30 minutes, then allow to cool at least 30 minutes on a rack. If not cooled properly, they will fall apart.

Arrange spinach leaves on 4 plates.

Loosen the sides if the custards with a very thin knife blade, and invert onto the spinach beds on each plate. Make sure to remove the parchment if it didn’t stay in the ramekins. Top each custard with a walnut half, sprinkle chopped nuts around and give a light drizzle of honey to the whole.


Serves 4.

36 comments:

  1. Whether it's a first course or dessert, I'd happily fork into this beauty. Such glorious flavours and silky texture, I'm sure.

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    1. Thanks, John - I do love the texture of these... silky smooth with surprising little pockets of sweet pear.

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  2. I love that ceramic pear! I have added this to my "must make Cocoa & Lavender" recipes.

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    1. Carolyne, I loved that pear when I saw in online and, being a collector of measuring cups, I knew I had to have it. The sad thing is that they are so far off on the measurements, that it is only decorative!

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  3. You know the old saying in Italian? Al contadino non far sapere quant'è buono il cacio con le pere!

    By the way, I really like that measuring cup. Very pretty indeed. Part of a set?

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    1. I had not known that saying till now, but I love it, Frank! It was as if they had my timbales in mind when they said it!

      Yes, that is part of a set - from Anthropologie. Probably my favorites for photography (an accuracy)!

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  4. Gorgeous photos and an elegant first course. I am going to look for some blue goat cheese. Tonight, I am watching Victoria on PBS but other than that I prefer the Princess Diaries over the current news.

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    1. Thanks, Gerlinde! Who wouldn't prefer the Princess Diaries over the current news?

      By the way, these are great with any blue cheese!

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  5. This is such a nice elegant alternative to the usual chocolate Valentine's dessert. I see that there is no gelatin listed in the recipe so it's interesting that this dish holds it shape so nicely! I've never watched the Princess Diaries but it must be a nice alternative to watching 'you-know-who's' TWEETS!

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    1. This is such a fun way to have a first course or a dessert, Fran! Talk about flexibility!

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  6. Hi David! Gorgeous post. The photos are outrageously good. This delectable dish looks like a wonderful first course. Best wishes to you two. :)

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    1. Thanks, Ngeun! I haven't seen any posts from you lately - hope you are busy being creative and having a wonderful time.

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  7. This is such a great idea David, they sound so delicious and I could just tuck right in!

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    1. I feel the same way about that Victoria Sponge you just posted! Yum!

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  8. I'm completely in love with this dish, David. the combination of Bleu cheese, pears, walnuts and honey is honestly one of my favorite things. I'll be dreaming about this one until I can try your gorgeous custards.

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  9. What a special dish, David. A beautiful combination of flavors and your presentation is so pretty. That hunk of blue cheese - oh my! Yum!

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  10. Buon giorno Genovia ! This is fabulous post you have done ! Grazie milla. Tornero !

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    1. Buon giorno, 2Pots! I am so glad you visited - welcome!

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  11. I love The Princess Diaries and I love this timbale. What a perfect first course!

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    1. The Princess Diaries is a total stress reliever, Abbe! And so is making this timbale!

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  12. Yum! This is the first time I am seeing the Genovian Pear and happy you included it in your recipe, David. This seems like a perfect side dish!

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    1. Thanks, Agness! But I am afraid I was being silly - there is no real Genovian pear! Just in our fantasy world! :)

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  13. I love the rustic hint of rosemary in this ultra elegant recipe. GREG

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  14. I love pears and blue cheese. This recipe looks like a great variation on the theme I usually have after dinner--pear, blue cheese,walnuts, and a wee bit of honey. I love a late harvest Zin. A Vin Cuit is exquisite partner.

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    1. I wish we had thought to pair this with our vin cuit! Darn... it is in our rack being saved and this should have been what it was being saved for... I guess I will have to make these again!

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  15. Even if I am very late to the party, I do hope that Mark and you had a wonderful Valentine´s Day!

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    1. Thanks, Andrea - we did! I hope you and Thomas did, as well!

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  16. This dish looks perfect, I love fruit and cheese together.

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  17. It's lunchtime and I'm drooling! All my favorites together in one place! Delightful, David!

    Sorry I've been MIA, but I was "Down Under" for 3 weeks!

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    1. Thanks, Christina! I knew you were away - and I can't wait to hear about your adventures!

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  18. Beautiful David! Have you ever had Starkrimson pears? One of my favorites!

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    1. I haven't, Inger, in fact – I've never even heard of them! I will have to keep my eyes open for them. Are they large or small?

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