Alas, ‘tis Wednesday.
Cheer up! You know why?
Pears and sugar and cheese. That’s why.
I found a recipe for this fantastic sounding Colombian sweet treat, Brevas con Arequipe, or Candied Figs Stuffed with Dulce de Leche, topped with queso fresco. I like all of those things, and was all set to make it and then…no figs. I guess it’s not fig season.
The original recipe actually calls for figs in syrup and I couldn’t really find those either (though, full disclosure, how hard did I look?). Whenever I think of fruit preserved in any kind of syrup, I hear Hugh Grant awkwardly describing apricots in honey to Julia Roberts in Notting Hill.*
“Apricots, soaked in honey? Quite why, no one knows, because it stops them tasting like apricots and makes them taste like honey… and if you wanted honey, you could just… buy honey. Instead of apricots. But nevertheless, there we go there. They’re yours if you want them.”
So…I decided to substitute pears for the figs because I thought they would fit my tastes quite nicely. Not a great substitute flavor-wise at all, but I figured they would not at all be bad with cheese or the dulce. Also, in light of Mr. Grant’s aforementioned point about fruit in honey, I decided to just poach my own pears in a simple syrup with the slightest hint of cinnamon. They still tasted like pears, but fancy pears. The fortunate by-product of doing this myself a this magnificent pear flavored simple syrup, perfect for tea or oatmeal or anything that could benefit from its addition.
As for the dulce, see my recipe in the Dulce de Leche shortbreads from Christmas. As it turns out, those cookies are very much like the popular South American cookies known as Alfajores. Talk about foresight. If you don’t want to make your dulce, store bought would be a perfectly acceptable quick fix. I warmed mine up, perhaps a little too much, and that’s why it’s a little runny. Does that make it any less delicious? I’d argue that it makes it more.
Sprinkled with some queso fresco, these pears as a dessert/snack/just because were sort of perfect. Seriously, what’s not to love?
The slightly salty queso paired with the-oh-so-sweet dulce…YES. I thought about adding nuts, perhaps toasted pecans, but then, after thinking really hard about it, decided that it didn’t need any. GROUNDBREAKING. I’m not sure I’ve ever said that before. I’m such a sucker for nuts.
So in the end, this is what we got.
So pretty, right? And romantic.
If you’ve been following me as of late, my spotted references to my favorite rom-coms is evidence that I’m subconsciously excited for Valentine’s Day. I’ve also been craving London something fierce and movies let me be there without being there. There will no doubt be a Bridget Jones reference coming at you soon.
**Also romantic, check out my BFF blogger friend Allison’s Valentine’s Day playlist. It’ll definitely have you thinking lovely thoughts.
- 2 pears of choice, peeled and cored
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 cups water
- ¼ tsp (a few shakes) ground cinnamon
- 4 TB dulce de leche
- 2 TB queso fresco, crumbled
- Mix water and sugar in a deep pot and heat on low until sugar is dissolved. Add the cinnamon.
- Place pears in syrup solution and cook on low until they are tender. Turn them about halfway through cooking to ensure all sides get soft, about 30 minutes.
- Carefully remove pears from pan. Cool, then refrigerate.
- Slice the chilled pears like a flower, keeping the bottom intact. You may need to slice the pear bottoms to allow them to stand. Fill each one with 2 TB slightly warmed dulce de leche, and 1 crumbled queso. Serve and enjoy!