Pears & Cream Cheese With Fresh Cranberries

Advocate staff photo by HEATHER MCCLELLAND -- Cream cheese, pecans and cranberries update this version of a traditional pear salad.
Advocate staff photo by HEATHER MCCLELLAND -- Cream cheese, pecans and cranberries update this version of a traditional pear salad.

ADVOCATE-TESTED RECIPE

Pears & Cream Cheese With Fresh Cranberries

Serves 6. Recipe is by Corinne Cook.

1 dozen pear halves

2 cups fresh cranberries

12⁄3 cup water

¾ cup sugar

1 tsp. cornstarch or 2 tsps. flour

2 tbls. water

1 (8-oz.) pkg. cream cheese

¼ cup milk, orange juice or pear juice mixed with a splash of Grand Marnier

¾ cup chopped pecans

Thin piece of lemon zest for garnish, optional

1. Drain pear halves and set aside.

2. In medium saucepan, cook cranberries in water and sugar until cranberries are tender and popped.

3. Make a paste with cornstarch and water and stir that into the cooked cranberries; heat and stir until mixture thickens and becomes transparent.

4. Thin the cream cheese with milk or juice and add the chopped nuts. Roll into balls in palms of your hands and place in center of each pear half. Chill.

5. Right before serving, layer plate with a small bed of lettuce (or a crisp lettuce leaf) and top with pear, cream cheese ball and cranberry sauce across the top. The cranberry sauce can discolor the pear if you spoon it over the top too far in advance.