This dish is a wonderful party appetizer or the perfect after-dinner, for example with some good crackers or bread and a glass of liqueur wine (think of a Marsala, a Port or a Ben Ryé if you’re in the expensive mood!).
It’s made with 4 different cheeses and if you want to substitute some of them with something different you can, of course.
If you don’t like blue cheese like the rich and tasty Gorgonzola I’ve used, for example, you can use some good cream cheese. The end result will be more delicate and, yet, still very good.
Pears and cheese are a classic combination in the Italian and French cuisine. We even have a proverb that says: al contadino non far sapere quant’è buono il formaggio con le pere. Which translated says: don’t let the peasant know how good cheese with pears is, meaning that some – great – things are supposed to be kept exclusive.
Use ripe pears and you’ll instantly know why this combination is divine!
Serve this terrine on a bed of fresh and crisp baby spinach and shower with ruby red pomegranate seeds for that perfect Christmas colour palette.
The recipe was first published in my family cookbook “Cucina di casa mia” and the wonderful pic above has been made by Jan Bartelsman, who photographed the whole book.
The second photo has been made during one of the lessons of my Vegetarian cooking course. Look at how beautifully my students made and styled this wonderful dish!
Terrina ai quattro formaggi con le pere (4-cheese terrine with pears)
400 gr gorgonzola
200 gr mascarpone
200 gr soft goat cheese
220 gr. provolone, Emmentaler, scamorza or Dutch cheese
3 dl whipping cream (without sugar)
2 gr. agar-agar
100 gr hazelnuts or walnuts
60 gr rucola
80 gr fresh spinach leaves
2 ripe pears, quite big
pomegranate to garnish
if desired, sweet paprika powder or chilli flakes
extra vergine olive oil
Pour the cream in a small pan and let it warm gently on a low heat. Bring it to a boil but do not let it boil over. Remove the pan from the heat and add the agar agar powder while stirring.
Make sure the agar agar is properly absorbed by the cream then return the pan to the heat and bring back to a gentle boil. Leave to simmer for 2 minutes while stirring occasionally. Here too it’s important that the cream does not boil over. Remove the pan from the flame and let the cream become lukewarm.
Grate the hard cheese (provolone, scamorza, Emmentaler or other) inside a bowl.
Wash the pears, peel and cut into cubes. Chop the chives and the arugula leaves.
Roast the hazelnuts/walnuts lightly in a frying pan (without oil) and cut into big chunks.
Crumble gorgonzola and goat cheese in a large bowl. Add the mascarpone and the lukewarm cream and mix everything together with a fork. Add the grated cheese and mix further.
Add chopped pear, nuts, chives and arugula to the cheese mixture and toss gently to combine.
Line a terrine mould with cling film and fill with the cheese mixture. Press the mixture into the mould and flatten the upper part evenly with a wet spoon.
Leave the terrine to rest at least 2 hours in the fridge.
Remove from the mould, arrange on a serving plate and garnish, if you wish, with paprika or chilli flakes, pomegranate, and spinach leaves.