No doubt you have your Valentine’s Day menu sorted but how about a quick canape while you are sipping some bubbles or even upsize this to a starter.
Pear butter, contrary to its name doesn’t contain butter! This can be made in advance and can be used for so much more than this recipe; its amazing on toast, with a cheese board instead of chutney and even stirred through hot porridge on a chilly morning.
850g pears (about 8 small)
Fine zest and juice of 1 unwaxed lemon
2cm piece ginger, peeled and chopped
1 star anise
Honey to taste
50g goats cheese (soft, rindless)
Walnut halves, halved!
For the pear butter:
Add the zest and juice of the lemon to a pan. Pear, core and quarter the pears and add to the lemon along with ginger, star anise and water.
Cook the pears for around 40 mins on a low simmer until they are soft. At this stage they are probably keeping their shape.
Remove from the heat, remove the star anise and purée in a food processor.
Place the purée back into the saucepan and cook for around an hour. Place the lid at an angle to prevent the mixture from spitting but to allow steam to escape. The longer you cook the sweeter, darker and thicker it will become. Remember to stir regularly to stop the mixture sticking.
Remove from the heat and stir through a teaspoon of honey; you may wish to add more depending on how sweet you want it. Allow to cool.
For the crostini:
Pre heat the oven to 180°. Slice the ciabatta into rounds no more tha 2cm thick; place on a baking tray and brush with olive oil. Bake for 5-10 minutes until lightly coloured.
Meanwhile, toast the walnut pieces in a pan, tossing regularly until coloured.
Combine the ricotta with the goats cheese and whisk with a generous drizzle of olive oil and pinch of salt until blended and light.
Once the ciabatta slices have cooled slightly, spread each with a little pear butter before adding a small teaspoon of the whipped goats cheese mixture. Add a walnut piece, sprinkle with thyme and drizzle with olive oil.