Époisses Mousse With Honeyed Pears

Active Time: 50 MINTotal Time5 HR 50 MIN
Yield: Serves : 4

Époisses is a custardy, slightly funky cheese that pairs beautifully with sweet, acidic pears. For an easier preparation, transfer the cheese to the freezer for a few minutes to help it firm up before removing the rind.

Ingredients

  • 1 (8-ounce) Époisses cheese round, chilled in freezer 30 minutes
  • 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
  • 1 tablespoon cold water
  • 1 cup heavy cream, divided
  • 4 teaspoons apple cider vinegar, divided
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 red or green Anjou pears (1 1/2 pounds total), quartered, cored, and cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices (about 4 cups)
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • Pain d’épices or gingersnap cookies, for serving

How to Make It

Step 1    

Using a thin, sharp knife, remove orange- colored rind from outside of Époisses round; discard rind. (You will have about 6 ounces of creamy white cheese.)

Step 2    

Sprinkle gelatin over 1 tablespoon cold water in a small bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Combine Époisses, 1/2 cup cream, and 1 teaspoon cider vinegar in a small saucepan. Cook over low, stirring often, until cheese has melted into cream, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in gelatin mixture until dissolved. Let cool to room temperature, about 1 hour.

Step 3    

Meanwhile, beat remaining 1/2 cup cream in a medium bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form, about 2 minutes; set aside. Beat cream cheese in a small bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until smooth and lightened, about 4 minutes; transfer to a large bowl. Using a rubber spatula, fold Époisses mixture into cream cheese until almost combined. Gently fold in whipped cream. (This lightens the mixture.) Cover and chill until mixture is very cold and set, at least 4 hours or up to 2 days.

Step 4    

An hour before serving, preheat broiler to high with oven rack about 6 inches from heat. Melt butter in a 12-inch stainless steel ovenproof skillet over medium-high, and cook, stirring occasionally, until just beginning to brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Whisk in honey until smooth, and cook, whisking constantly, until honey caramelizes and smells like molasses, about 1 minute. Carefully add remaining 1 tablespoon cider vinegar, swirling skillet to incorporate. Add pears and a pinch of salt; toss to coat pears in caramel.

Step Step 5    

Transfer skillet to oven, and broil until pears are just cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove skillet from oven, and let cool. (You can serve slightly warm or at room temperature.)

Step 6    

Spoon mousse evenly into bowls or serving glasses. Spoon pears and caramel around mousse. Serve with pain d’épices or gingersnaps.

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