A spectacular cheese with accompaniments makes a perfect shared plate. There is a wonderful range of Italian cheeses available in New Zealand – both locally made and imported. Here, I’ve used cheeses from artisan cheesemaker Il Casaro. We have shown whole cheeses, but obviously you can also buy smaller pieces to suit.
1 piece Gocce Blue cheese or other blue cheese of choice
4 pears, firm and not too ripe
2 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons caster sugar
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Pears: Halve the pears, leaving the skin on and core in. Place them cut-side up in a baking dish.
Put the butter, honey and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
Spoon the honey mixture over the pears and roast for 15 minutes. Turn over and roast for a further 15 minutes then turn cut side up again and roast until caramelized and very tender when pierced with a skewer. This can take up to another 30 minutes if the pears were hard.
If the pan starts to catch add a splash of water, as you want the lovely thick pan juices to spoon over the pears. If making the pears ahead, rewarm and serve just warm.