Cook on a Whim: Pear and Prosciutto Bundles

I absolutely love this time of year. The cold weather outside seems to make it even cozier inside. This coziness is amplified by the friends and family popping into our homes for the various holidays.

The months between October and January are a time for pulling out old family recipes and traditions, entertaining loved ones, making the home a warm and welcoming space, hosting get-togethers, sharing with people and creating lasting memories.

For some, though, this can be a daunting season. But — with a few tricks up your sleeve — you can host fabulous, relaxing get-togethers.

One of the best tricks is to have some easy, no-cook appetizers you can whip up before your guests arrive — or, even better, enlist their help with the assembly. Having your guests help in the kitchen creates such a fun, convivial environment and just sets the tone for a relaxing evening. And bonus: it takes some of the work off the host!

That’s where these little sweet and savory bundles come in. To make these elegant bites, you need a small list of ingredients: pears, thinly sliced prosciutto, cheese of your choice (brie or blue would be my top choices) and some honey that we will infuse with thyme and black pepper.

You can wrap these up the morning of your get-together, or even the day before, and stash them in the fridge. Drizzle with honey right before serving, or just leave a little bowl of honey on the tray for your guests to drizzle as they wish.

These are great as is. Or, to make a more hearty appetizer, serve some toasty bread slices or crackers alongside. Have drinks nearby and encourage your guests to help themselves. Before you know it, everyone will be nibbling, sipping and having a great time.

I hope you’ll give these a try and I wish you a happy, relaxing holiday season.

Note: This recipe makes 24 bundles, but it is very easily scaled up or down. Just count on half a slice of prosciutto per pear quarter.

Pear and Prosciutto Bundles

6 ounces of thinly sliced prosciutto (about 12 slices), halved lengthwise
6 Seckel pears (you can use regular, I just love the little Seckel pears this time of year)
4 ounces soft, mild brie or mild blue cheese (or any cheese you love)
1/2 cup honey
A few sprigs fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Place honey in a small bowl, add pepper and thyme leaves, stir and set aside. Quarter pears and remove seeds and stems. Lay a thin slice of prosciutto down on your work surface. Place one pear quarter in center of prosciutto and place a small amount of cheese on top of pear. Add a few thyme leaves and some cracked black pepper. Wrap prosciutto around pear and cheese.

Repeat with remaining ingredients.

Once all bundles are assembled, store in refrigerator until ready to serve. Remove from refrigerator about 30 minutes before serving and drizzle with honey just before serving.


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