Brie and Pear Pastries

By Friday, August 12, 2011

Where has the summer gone? I feel like it just started and in fact, it’s almost over. It’s probably because we’ve been keeping so busy. There just aren’t enough hours in a day sometimes! This past week has been especially crazy. We were away for a beautiful wedding last weekend and this week My Other Half has been in extreme northern Ontario, leaving me to prepare for his dad’s first visit to our new house. This entailed literally scrubbing the house from top to bottom, stocking the fridge and of course, some yummy cooking!

Sunday night was my favourite day of the month – book club! My fellow blogger Kate Lalumiere hosted in her beautiful apartment. Her place is spacious, classy and full of character and we sampled some fantastic cheeses and I tried some wines I’d never heard of before. My contribution was an idea I stole from the wedding we attended the day before: Brie and Pear Pastries!

After the ceremony at the Nestleton Waters Inn, the guests had cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. One of the things the waiters were passing around were these tiny pastries with pear and brie in them. When I got home from the wedding on Sunday (panicking because I had to pull a potluck item together for book club), I realized I had all those things on hand – phyllo pastry, brie and pears. And an egg for brushing.

It was that easy – I cut the pastry into 2” squares and filled them with a little cheese and pear. I then pinched the corners together to create a little pocket. I brushed them with beaten egg and baked them at 350ºC for 15 minutes (until golden). They were so yummy and went perfectly with our accidental wine/cheese night! Easy peezy.

Now for an update on my most recent attempt – Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake! I have only ever made one cheesecake before, and as you may recall they were Peanut Butter Cheesecake Squares, so this was really my first real try. The recipe looked so summery and fresh and delicious I just had to try it – you may have seen it on the front of this month’s Canadian Living magazine. When I read the recipe, it didn’t sound very hard, but making it was a whole other thing.

You pretty much have to make two batters – the strawberry and the regular, and then swirl them. Also, there’s a lot of waiting in this recipe. You have to cook the crust, the ingredients must be at room temperature, you must let it cool in the water for 15 minutes, then cool completely out of the water, and then chill for a minimum of four hours. Too much waiting for an impatient girl like me.

Ahh, yes… the water. So it says it bake the cheesecake in an inch of water. Problem is, most pans aren’t bigger than my 9” cheesecake pan. So halfway through the cake, I had to run to trusty ol’ Winners to pick up a big enough pan. Luckily they had a 12” cake pan for $6.99 – perfect!

What I don’t understand is how to tell when a cheesecake is cooked. The recipe said it was finished when the top wasn’t shiny, the sides were set and the inside still jiggled, which is exactly what I did, However, it didn’t crack like most homemade cheesecakes do and after 10 hours of refrigeration, when I poked at the centre, it seemed still really soft and jiggly… like it hadn’t set. I guess we’ll find our when our guests try it this weekend!

We’re also planning an hors d’oeuvres dinner of Chicken and Avocado Eggrolls, Ginger Pork Wontons and Bacon Jalapeno Duck Skewers… should be a lot of work, but totally delicious! More to come on that cooking adventure soon!

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