Does it get any better? Martha’s January 2007 magazine put my salivary glands in motion with this dessert in her pull-out meal section. I love the idea of serving it with Port at the end of the meal… except even more I wanted to try to make the Banana Tarte Tatin in that same magazine (yum by the way, and not too banana-ey). So, this lovely trio became an appetizer instead. Friends came over, and I served this starter with candied walnuts (I made extra so I could pop them into a salad later in the week), Gorgonzola Dolcetta (huh? It is a sweeter, milder version of Gorgonzola) and pears. I actually served it with red pears, which are firm and delicious. Most pears will do.
I am increasingly a fan of candied and/or spiced nuts. Often our guests enjoy warmed, spicy, rosemary cashews or gingered sugared pecans to beckon some pre-dinner nibbles. These walnuts are a welcome addition to my nutty repertoire. But beyond pre-meal or post-meal munching, one of my favorite uses for newfangled nuts is their status as a snack in my children’s lunches.
By the way, I am not the only nutty one out there: Elise from Simply Recipes made Caramel Walnuts, Bea at La Tartine Gourmand created gorgeous Flourless Walnut Minicakes, a Spicy Port Pecan Shoofly Tart comes from Kirsten’s Home Cooking Adventures, Peabody whips out a Nutty Tart—and I love the idea of Carrot Almond Soup or this recipe from RD for Spiced Nut Mix. And finally, both Almond Gazpacho and Pistachio Ice Cream can be found over at Stone Soup. Why not go nutty!?!
Candied Walnuts, Gorgonzola & Pears
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 T butter
1 T pure maple syrup
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1-2 pears, preferably red, cut into thin wedges
4-8 oz of Gorgonzola
Preheat oven to 375. Stir sugar and salt in small bowl. Boil butter and syrup in large sautee pan, remove from heat. Add nuts, toss to coat. Transfer nuts to baking sheet and bake 7 minutes. Let cool. Serve with sliced pears and Gorgonzola.