Keeping the crowd fed while you're putting the finishing touches on the holiday meal is key. These toasts are perfect for taking the edge off, and come together easily. Simple in preparation, but with a sweet savory combo will make your taste buds jump with joy.
When a recipe has just a handful of ingredients, the quality of the ingredients tend to matter more, so choose them wisely! The pears should be just ripe - sweet but not soft. Since they're in season, see if you can get them at your local farmers market.
While you're there, look for a nice local bloomy cheese. A bloomy rind cheese is mold-ripened, forming a "bloomy" crust on the outside, and smooth, creamy deliciousness on the inside. Brie is probably the most well known bloomy rind cheese. We decided to go local. We've made this recipe with Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery's Snow Fog, and Tulip Tree's Trillium - with equally amazing results.
Don't toast the bread too far in advance, or it will get both harder and chewy (weird, I know) as it sits out. If you're toasting, assembling and serving in quick succession, you probably can forego the second bake. Spreading bloomy cheese on nice warm toast will soften the cheese nicely. Just make sure your pears are room temperature, and not coming from the fridge.
Pear Bloomy Cheese Toasts
1 small loaf crusty sourdough bread, cut into 1/2 inch slices
1-2 garlic cloves
Olive oil for brushing
12 oz bloomy rind cheese, thinly sliced
2-3 pears (not overly ripe)
Handful fresh chives, snipped into small pieces
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Cut larger pieces of bread into halves or quarters, so they make good finger food. Toast in preheated oven, directly on the racks, until mostly dried out. (They should still have a little give in the middle.)
Peel garlic cloves and cut in half crosswise. Once toasts are cool enough to handle, lightly rub one side of the toasts with the cut side of the garlic clove. The toasts should have a pleasant, but not overpowering, garlic scent.
Brush the garlic-rubbed side of the toasts with olive oil. Put a slice of cheese on each toast, and spread it around with a butter knife or spreader to make sure there's cheese in every bite.
Core pears and thinly slice. Arrange pear slices on top of cheese. If you'd like, you can pop the toasts back in the oven for 2 minutes, to take any chill off the cheese and pear. Sprinkle with snipped chives, along with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately and enjoy!
Makes 8-10 servings
What Kids Can Do (with appropriate tools & adult supervision)
*Rub toasts with garlic
*Brush toasts with olive oil
*Snip & sprinkle chives
*Season with salt & pepper