Sweet USA Pears and salty prosciutto combine with creamy blue brie in this easy but elegant appetizer. Pear Prosciutto Palmiers come together in minutes, bake in under 20, and look gorgeous on the plate.
I love pears. They’re tops of my list of fruits. Ironically, I don’t have that many pear recipes in my blog. I really need to fix that. However, as much as I love them, I don’t cook with them all that often. I really need to fix that, too.
A few years ago, I attended a food conference in Washington, DC. USA Pears had a booth there and were giving away samples of deliciously ripe pears. I asked the same question that everyone else does.
How do you know when a pear is ripe?
Since pears don’t ripen well on the tree, they’re picked when they’re mature, but that’s not always ripe. Bartlett pears are easy because they will change from green to yellow when they’re ripening. But the other varieties do not have visual cues as to when a pear is ripe. To know for sure, check the neck of the pear. Gently press your thumb to the stem end of the pear and if it gives a little, it’s ripe.
Pears are best ripened in the counter or in a console bowl on your dinner table. Because, well, pears are so pretty you should enjoy looking at them as they ripen. However, if you’re in a hurry, you can put them in a paper bag on the counter. Check them once a day so they don’t get too ripe.
I’m sure you had the same question I did, “What is a USA Pear?” Yes, they’re pears grown in the United States, but that’s not all. They’re grown in Oregon and Washington. Those two states have the perfect combination of soil, temperature, and water that make the best pears. And only the best pears are sold to USA Pears.
What different varietals of pears are there?
According to Wikipedia, there’s 3000 different cultivars of pears. Three THOUSAND! But only 10 of those are grown in the United States.
- Anjou – bright green, even when ripe, Anjou pears have the smooth and juicy texture with a citrus hint that tastes great over cereals but holds up to baking, poaching, and even roasting.
- Red Anjou – is a sweeter and milder pear than it’s green counterpart that has a more spice flavor than it’s green cousin, but holds up just the same during cooking.
- Bartlett – has the most essential pear flavor which is why it’s the best canning pear. They change color as they ripen which means the greener ones are best for canning, cooking, and pureeing while the yellower ones are best eaten raw.
- Red Barlett – has a smoother and sweeter flavor than the green cousins with a more floral flesh flavor. While it holds up to canning and cooking like the green version, the red is best eaten juicy, ripe, and raw.
- Bosc – they’re best for baking and poaching since they hold their shape better than other varieties. They’re almost smoky or earthy in flavor which makes them best for pairing in savory recipes.
- Concorde – with hints of vanilla in the flesh, this is best for baking. It has subtle pear flavor which makes it not the greatest eaten fresh, but since the skin doesn’t brown as it ripens you can use it as a pretty garnish.
- Seckel – has a champagne like flavor in its flesh. It’s sweet flesh is best fresh or paired well with a good sharp cheese.
- Comice – also pears well with cheese. The slightly smoky flesh is also delicious poached.
- Starkrimsom – has a strong floral flavor making it best when baked because eating it raw might be off putting.
- Forelle – the name means trout in German and after looking at the speckled skin you can see why. It’s slightly tarter and apple like in texture. It’s perfect raw in salads or paired with cheese.
And you can see they don’t have to look perfect going onto the sheet pan. When the puff pastry bakes up, they come out looking gorgeous and delicious. You really can’t go wrong in making these for your holiday parties.
You can see all the different layers in this photograph. There’s the prosciutto on the bottom, the pear, and then the creamy brie. The slightly sweet pear and salty prosciutto pair well off each other. Then you add the creamy brie with its sharp rind, and it rounds out all the flavors. Then the crunch of the puff pastry make these even more irresistible.
I used Concord pears in this recipe. Which is super simple to make. It has just four ingredients and bakes in about 20 minutes. These are on the plate in under 30. I kid you not. They’re so delicious and make such a great table presence for any holiday party or guests that may drop by.
And you can easily prepare these ahead of time. Just keep them unsliced and wrapped in plastic wrap up to one day ahead of time. Then slice and bake about 30 minutes before you’re ready to eat them. I say 30 because you’ll want to let them cool slightly before serving. Otherwise your guests might burn their tongues.
See what I mean? They just look elegant and delicious on the plate. Your guests will devour them and then ask you for the recipe so they can make them at home. And you’ll have a few recipe cards handy, because that’s how you roll!
Me, on the other hand? I just send them to my blog.
They almost look like smiley faces, right? You see it, don’t you? That big ole smile! Like the one you make when you realize these have 4 ingredients. And if you’re like me, you have most of them on hand anyway.
There’s always puff pastry in the freezer. I can’t resist that blue brie wheel at the store. Then there’s prosciutto I keep for any time I want to make some Roman chicken or cacciatore. Finally, pears are always around the house on the counter or the fridge.
I realized as I was photographing this that I didn’t have the best platters for appetizers like this one. So, I grabbed my slate plate. Who says they have to be on a platter? You can also allow the slate plate to double and put some fresh pears and brie on there with the palmiers. To best honest, it doesn’t matter what you put them on. They’re going to taste delicious and elegant even if you serve them on a paper plate.
For those that don’t have or can’t find blue brie, crumble blue cheese would work. If you don’t like blue cheese, then what’s wrong with you? I’m kidding! Use a cheese you like, but something that would complement the pears and the prosciutto. Maybe a gouda, stilton, or manchego is more your liking.
What’s your favorite pear variety? I personally like Bosc and Bartlett. They have the best pear flavor I love. Speaking of which, I’m almost out and need to add them to the grocery list. Maybe I’ll start sharing more pear recipes than the few I have on the blog already.
- 1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
- 2 Concorde pairs, thinly sliced (make sure they're thin enough that they will roll up)
- 2 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto
- 4 ounces sliced bleu brie
- Preheat oven to 400.
- Unwrap the sheet of puff pastry and place on a clean work surface.
- Place a thin layer of prosciutto on the puff pastry.
- Top with thin slices of pear.
- Place the slices of bleu brie on top of the pears.
- Carefully roll up each side of the puff pastry making sure to roll as tight as possible.
- If you're making these ahead of time, wrap the blog in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator.
- Slice about 1/2 inch thick and place the slices on a silpat lined baking sheet.
- Bake at 400 for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.
- Cool slightly in pan before serving.
To make the brie easier to slice, place it in the freezer 10 or 15 minutes until firm enough to thinly slice.
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Nutrition InformationYield 10 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 65 Total Fat 5g Saturated Fat 2g Trans Fat 0g Unsaturated Fat 2g Cholesterol 15mg Sodium 231mg Carbohydrates 1g Net Carbohydrates 0g Fiber 0g Sugar 0g Sugar Alcohols 0g Protein 4g