Pine Nut Wafers with Blue Cheese and Balsamic Pears

From issue #5.
Photography by Photography by Aaron McLean.
Pine Nut Wafers with Blue Cheese and Balsamic Pears


¾ cup pine nuts, toasted
1 cup flour
pinch salt
1 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary
50 grams cold butter cut into small dice
50 grams blue cheese, crumbled

Blue Cheese Topping
125 grams creamy blue cheese
100 grams mascarpone
3 tablespoons finely shredded mint leaves

Balsamic Pears
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons caster sugar
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 firm pears


Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.

Place the pine nuts, flour, salt and rosemary in a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse until it resembles coarse crumbs. Add the cheese and pulse just until the dough starts to come together. Remove and roll into a log shape. Wrap well in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight.

Slice the chilled dough into 5 mm slices and place on a tray lined with a non-stick sheet or baking paper. Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown and the centre is firm. Do not allow them to get too dark. Transfer to a rack to cool. Store in an airtight container.

Topping: Combine the ingredients and mix well.

Pears: Place the two vinegars, the sugar and pepper in a large sauté pan and stir over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Peel and very thinly slice the pears and add to the pan. Simmer for 3-4 minutes until the pears have softened a little and are glazed with the syrup. Set aside to cool.

To serve: Spread a little blue cheese on each biscuit and place 1-2 slices of pear on top. Garnish with a mint sprig if desired. Makes approximately 20 wafers

Tea Match: This tasty dish was probably the hardest to match, mainly due to the complexity of the flavours at play. I thought of the pine nuts, cheese and pears as three points of a triangle, and tried to imagine what I could put in the centre to enhance the experience.

In the end I decide to go with the “champagne of teas” – Darjeeling, whose unique taste of muscatel and peach-skins lends it to be drunk alone or with complex and unusual flavours. Margaret’s Hope estate is located in the Kurseong north valley of Darjeeling and is one of the region’s best known. This is one of the world’s finest teas and works brilliantly with this food.