Caramelized Pear “Cupcakes” With Blue Cheese Frosting

Caramelized Pear Cupcakes With Blue Cheese Frosting

I was on my way out the door to work the other day and for some reason I said to Snacky Pants, "what would go with Blue Cheese Frosting?", and she gamely replied "pears of course". And then I was thinking of a great post (that I can’t seem to find) that Dana had over at about a meal she prepared that was all sweet savories and savory sweets. I love the idea of that. Here’s my first try at this concept. I used puff pastry and caramelized the pears in a skillet, making alternating layers. Then I added smoked Spanish paprika (pimenton dulce) and baked them in mini muffin tins. For the icing I mixed about 1/3 Pena Azul (a Spanish blue cheese) with 2/3 plain cream cheese and a bit of lemon juice, and topped them with a few grains of the red Hawaiian Alaea sea salt. Verdict: pretty good, not bad for a first try at a totally new area of cooking for me. Definitely fun but I think the flavors need a bit of refinement. Also I bet using phyllo instead of puff pastry would be appealing. I didn’t have mini parchment cupcake wrappers, but that would add to the effect, and clearly I should take more care in piping out the frosting. I think the Pena Azul is too salt, I think I would try a Gorgonzola Dolce instead. You could serve them an appetizer with a good sherry. Here’s an approximate recipe:

Caramelized Pear "Cupcakes" With Blue Cheese Frosting
Makes 6

  • 1/2 lb. homemade or frozen all-butter puff pastry
  • 2 ripe but still firm pears
  • 1 T. sugar
  • 2 t. smoked spanish pimenton de la vera (dulce) paprika
  • 1/4 c. Pena Azul Gorgonzola dolce or other blue cheese
  • 1/2 c. cream cheese
  • 1 T or so lemon juice
  • red Hawaiian Alaea sea salt for garnish
  • butter
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and butter 6 spots in a mini-muffin tin
  2. Slice the pears about 3/16" thick, skipping the core
  3. Find a couple circle cutters the approximate size of the top and bottom of your muffin tin. Cut 6 small and 6 larger circles of pear. You’ll have lots of pear leftover to eat.
  4. Heat a skillet on medium, add a bit of butter, and after it melts, sprinkle in the sugar. Add the pear slices and cook a few minutes on each side, til nicely caramelized.
  5. Again with the circle cutters, cut 6 small and twelve larger circles of puff pastry.
  6. Put a small piece of puff pastry in each muffin tin, top with a slice of pear, and add a pinch of the paprika. Repeat, and finish with a layer of pastry.
  7. Bake about 15-17 minutes until golden brown
  8. To make the icing, just warm both cheese in the microwave for 30 seconds or so until beatable, add the lemon juice, and go at it with a small whisk until smooth. Don’t put any salt in the icing because you want to be able to garnish with it. Taste and adjust.
  9. Cool the cupcakes, remove from muffin tins, and pipe on the icing with a pastry bag or cut the corner off a small ziplock. Top with a few grains of the red salt.
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Posted by Michael Natkin on Monday, August 27th, 2007 in Baking, Experiments, Recipes.

8 Responses to “Caramelized Pear “Cupcakes” With Blue Cheese Frosting”

  1. Reply
    August 27, 2007 at 9:01 am #

    Hi Michael,
    I love the new name for your blog and this recipe sounds delicious.
    Have a great trip and I look forward to receiving updates on your travels and food experiences.

  2. Reply
    Nicholas Ridiculous
    August 30, 2007 at 12:09 am #

    This is genius. This will make a great savoury cheese cake for a little starter, appetizer or little inbetween thing, I like the confounding expectations of the savoury/sweet thing. This might make the big Christmas Eve tasting menu feast.

  3. Reply
    August 31, 2007 at 8:21 pm #

    What a tasty idea – this is great. I’m going to have to give it a go. I think I love just about pear anything. Love the photo too!

  4. Reply
    September 2, 2007 at 12:40 am #

    Hi Michael,
    this looks absolutely divine. Sooo inspiring. I just love your blog!

  5. Reply
    Nicholas Ridiculous
    September 3, 2007 at 12:16 am #

    First attempt was not good.
    Too much cheese so I got no pear at all.
    Will try again next week. I need to make it smaller but I used the smallest ring mould I have, I am going to have to cannabalise some plastic spice tubes that I have to make a bite sized one.

  6. Reply
    August 28, 2008 at 4:25 pm #

    Hey, this is very interesting. I bet you could make a true pear cupcake or maybe a plum cupcake with this frosting.

  7. Reply
    October 2, 2008 at 7:51 am #

    I think you’re really onto something here! I found this recipe from your beet/goat cheese cupcakes on Fanny’s site (I only pretend to be on a first name basis with her). I love the idea behind these and admire you for just going for a brand new concept. Great blog.

  8. Reply
    Michael Natkin
    October 2, 2008 at 9:49 am #

    Thanks Lael! You’ve got some neat stuff going on at your blog as well. I’m a big fan of any kind of sable cookie too – in fact the first one I made was based on Fanny’s recipe – chocolate with fleur de sel. I could totally see how the whole wheat would work, adding something like an english biscuit aspect. Yum.

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