Caramelized Pear and “Cheese” Crostini with Balsamic Reduction

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These Crostinis were such a big hit at our New Year’s Cocktail Party!  The carnivores devoured them, moaning through chews at how delicious they were.  They are from a favourite new cookbook, the Skinny Bitch Ultimate Everyday Cookbook, which so far is three for three for recipes to please a crowd.  We also tried the Curried Chickpea Cakes (the consistency was questionable, but we did forget one crucial ingredient and are confident that made properly will be outstanding), and the Breakfast Frittata, which made January 1st brunch just that much better.

 

Ingredients:

1 cup balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup evaporated cane sugar plus 2 tablespoons

1/4 cup olive oil

2 teaspoons garlic powder, divided

1/2 French baguette sliced into 1/4 inch slices (we used a whole baguette)

4 ripe pears, peeled and cored

3 tablespoons brown rice syrup

1/2 cup hot water

1 (225 g) container of vegan cream cheese

1 tablespoon chives, minced, plus some garnishing

Method:

Preheat the oven to 350F

In a medium saucepan, add the vinegar and 2 tablespoons of sugar.  Cook over medium-low heat until reduced by 75 percent, stirring frequently.  You will have a thick syrup.

In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil and 1 teaspoon of the garlic powder. Lay the bread slices out on a baking sheet. Brush both sides with the olive oil mixture and then bake about 5 minutes or until bread is crisp, not too dark. Watch Carefully! Transfer to a large serving platter.

Cut the pears into thin slices lengthwise.  Heat a large skillet and add the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar, the brown rice syrup and the hot water.  Simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.  Add the pears and toss to coat.  Cook for another 5 minutes then remove from heat and set aside.

In a small bowl, mix the cream cheese with the remaining 1 teaspoon of garlic powder and the minced chives.  Spread the garlic cream cheese mixture on each of the crostini slices, top with a pear slice and drizzle with the balsamic reduction. Garnish with a sprinkling of chives and then be prepared to blow yours guests away with this ultra sophisticated vegan appetizer!

 

~The Vegan Project

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