If you have never tried the combination of blue cheese and pears together, you are in for a treat. These Blue Cheese and Pear Appetizers are not only delicious, they are also an easy and sophisticated starter to a memorable evening.
Thin slices of toasted rye bread are topped with creamy blue cheese, an easy-to-make homemade spiced pear compote and toasted hazelnuts. These tasty little bites are so simple and yet pleasantly complex in flavor. Keep reading for step-by-step instructions for making these easy Blue Cheese and Pear Appetizers at home!
Why This Recipe Works
- The combination of flavorful blue cheese and sweet, spiced pear compote is unforgettable.
- Toasted hazelnuts bring the perfect crunch to these tasty appetizers.
- The components can all be made ahead of time so you can simply assemble and enjoy!
- This recipe starts with making toasted rounds out of store bought rye bread that is brushed with melted butter and sprinkled with salt. No rye bread? No problem! Sliced white or wheat bread will work here as well.
- A nice creamy (rather than crumbly) blue cheese works best for these appetizers. If you or someone you are serving doesn't like blue cheese, substitute brie or even cream cheese in its place.
- This Simple Pear Compote recipe is really the star of this dish. Fresh ginger, cardamom and honey come together to create a tender yet substantial pear sauce that is perfect when combined with blue cheese and hazelnuts. It takes only about 30 minutes to make and you can prepare it up to a week ahead of time.
- Toasted hazelnuts add their unmistakable flavor and crunch. You could use toasted almonds or walnuts instead!
How to Make this Recipe
- Begin by making the pear compote. It comes together quickly on the stovetop and can be made up to a week ahead of time.
- Next, make the toasted rye bread rounds. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut the bread into 2-3 inch circles using a biscuit cutter (use any leftover bread scraps to make toasted bread crumbs if you like). Spread the rounds evenly over two baking sheets. Brush with melted butter or olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake until crisp all the way through, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a metal cooling rack to cool completely.
- When you are ready to serve, top each toasted bread round with a bit of blue cheese a spoonful of pear compote and a sprinkle of toasted hazelnuts. Serve immediately!
- I like the look of my bread cut into rounds but you can cut yours into any shape you like (triangles are also nice)!
- To toast hazelnuts: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spread the hazelnuts in a single layer on a rimmed metal baking sheet. Toast until lightly browned and fragrant, about 8-10 minutes. Immediately transfer to a clean, lint-free kitchen towel and wrap them up, trapping any steam from the warm nuts inside the towel. Let them sit for about 10 minutes. Rub the towel vigorously over the nuts to remove as much of the skins as possible. They will not all come off and that is fine. Your hazelnuts are now ready to use!
Each of the components of this recipe can be made ahead of time (see below for how to store each item), but he fully assembled appetizers will get soggy if you make them too far ahead of time. About an hour before your guests arrive is the perfect time to get these tasty bites ready to go.
The pear compote can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week in tightly sealed container (I use a Mason jar). If you make the rye bread toasts the day you plan to serve them, just leave them on the cooling rack until you are ready to assemble the appetizers. For longer storage, place them in a tightly sealed container at room temperature for up to two days. If they get soggy, simply pop them in a 400 degree oven until they are crisp again (about 3 minutes). The hazelnuts can be toasted and chopped up to 3 days in advance and stored in an airtight container at room temperature.
Use a different type of bread for the toasts, use apple compote in place of the pear, or switch up the cheese (Brie is very nice as is cream cheese). Or swap the hazelnuts for toasted almonds or walnuts!
Looking for more tasty appetizers? Consider these delicious options:
Give these easy Blue Cheese and Pear Appetizers a try at your next gathering! Your guests will be surprised and delighted by these tasty little bites.
Blue Cheese and Pear Appetizers
- 16 slices rye bread (about 1 loaf) cut into small circles with a biscuit cutter or into triangles
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter melted
- Coarse salt
- ½ cup hazelnuts
- creamy blue cheese for spreading
- Simple Pear Compote
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread the bread rounds or triangles evenly between two rimmed baking sheets. Brush the bread with butter and season with salt. Bake the toasts until darker brown in color and beginning to crisp up around the edges, about 10-12 minutes, rotating the pans half way through. Transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool completely. (Toasts can be prepared up to 2 days in advance and stored in an airtight container at room temperature).
- Place nuts on a rimmed baking sheet and toast in the oven for 8-10 minutes or until fragrant and golden brown. Transfer nuts to a clean kitchen towel and wrap them inside allowing them to steam for a few minutes. Rub the nuts between the kitchen towel to remove the skins (don’t worry if all the skins come off). Chop nuts coarsely. (The hazelnuts can be toasted and chopped up to 3 days in advance. Store in an airtight container at room temperature).
- Top the rye toasts with smear of blue cheese, a dollop of the Simple Pear Compote and a sprinkling of toasted hazelnuts. Serve.
If you loved this recipe, give it a star review! Also, snap a picture of your Blue Cheese and Pear Appetizers and share it with me on Instagram using the hashtag #truenorthkitchen and tagging me @true_north_kitchen.