Mille Feuille of Poached Pear with Roquefort Mousse
This lovely dessert is Craig Shelton’s version of fruit and cheese. Spiced poached pears are sliced, then reassembled with Roquefort cheese mousse. The lovely pears are served with mint oil and honey, gingered quince, and quenelles of wine sorbet. Not only is this dessert delicious and pretty, it can also be made ahead of time and simply assembled at the last minute.
- Wine Sorbet
- Dry White Wine - 1-1/2 cups
- Sugar - 1/2 cup (alt. trimoline or honey
- Crystallized Ginger (substitute: purchased crystallized ginger)
- Gingerroot - 4 ounces
- Water - 1 cup
- Sugar - 1 cup
- Corn Syrup - 1 tablespoon
- Poached Pears
- Dry White Wine - 1/2 gallon
- Honey - 1/4 cup
- Sugar - 1/4 cup
- Lemon Juice - 2 lemons
- Cloves - 3
- Cinnamon stick - 1
- Bay Leaf - 1
- Gingerroot - 1/2 inch, peeled and scraped
- Black Peppercorns - 1 tablespoon, slightly crushed
- Vanilla Bean - 1
- Bosc Pears - 4, slightly firm
- Gingered Quince
- Unsalted Butter - 1/2 teaspoon
- Rosemary - 1 sprig
- Sugar - 1/2 teaspoon (alt. honey)
- Roquefort Cheese Mousse
- Gelatin - 2 packets, unflavored
- Water - 8 tablespoons, cold
- Roquefort Cheese - 5-1/2 ounces
- Milk - 1 teaspoon
- Heavy (Whipping) Cream - 1/2 cup
- Honey - 1/2 cup
- Mint Oil - 1/2 cup
- Roquefort Cheese - 4 small wedges
- Mint Leaves - 4 baby sprigs
To make the sorbet: Heat the wine over medium heat to burn off the alcohol. Combine half of the wine, the sugar or trimoline or honey, and water in a saucepan and cook until completely dissolved. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 3 minutes without stirring. Remove from heat and let cool. Stir in the remaining wine. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions. Store in an airtight container in the freezer.
To make the crystallized ginger: Peel the ginger and grate or cut into matchstick julienne. Put the water, sugar, and corn syrup into a saucepan and boil for 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low and add the ginger, stirring to spread it throughout the sugar mixture. Simmer for 1 hour. Spread the ginger on foil or a silicone liner and let cool. Break apart. Store in a cool, dry place.
To poach the pears: Combine the wine, honey, sugar, lemon juice, cloves, cinnamon stick, bay leaf, ginger, and peppercorns in a large saucepan or pot. Split the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds into the mixture, then drop in the pods. Peel the pears, leaving the stems in place, and put into the poaching liquid. Cover the pears with a towel to keep them submerged in the liquid. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 10 to 12 minutes, until just softened. Remove from heat and cool in the poaching liquid. Drain and chill in the refrigerator.
To make the quince garnish: Peel the quince. Preheat the oven to 250 F. Brush a piece of foil with butter. Place the rosemary sprig in the foil and put the quince on top. Top with more butter and sugar or honey. Fold the foil around the quince and crimp the edges to seal. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 1 to 2 hours, depending on the size of the quince. Remove and set aside in the foil packet. When cool, unwrap. Dice the quince and toss with the crystallized ginger.
To make the filling: Soak the gelatin in the water to dissolve. Press the Roquefort cheese through a tamis or sieve. Blend the Roquefort and about 2 tablespoons of the cream until smooth. Warm the gelatin over low heat until liquefied, then stir into the cheese mixture. Beat the remaining cream to soft peaks. Fold the cheese mixture and whipped cream together. Cover and refrigerate.
To assemble: Working with one pear at a time, slice a pear horizontally into thin layers. Remove the core seeds with a small ring cutter or knife. Place the cheese mousse in a pastry bag fitted with a fluted tip. Reassemble the pear by stacking the slices back together, piping cheese mousse between each slice. Press the slices together slightly as you work to keep them together. Repeat to stack each pear. Chill until ready to serve.
To serve: Put the honey and the mint oil in separate squeeze bottles. Drizzle a design with the honey and mint oil on each chilled serving plate. Place a pear on each plate. Sprinkle the plates with gingered quince and a slice of Roquefort cheese. Drizzle the pears with a little honey for shine. Make small quenelles or scoops of wine sorbet and place two on each serving plate. Garnish each pear with mint leaves.
Combine the oil and mint in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Set aside to steep for 2 hours. Strain through a fine-meshed sieve. Store in an airtight jar.