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COOKING WITH GALA

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PEARS WITH WARM BLUE CHEESE AND WALNUTS

3 ripe but not too soft pears, such as red Anjou or Bosc 
1 lemon, cut in half 
1 tablespoon butter 
1 tablespoon sugar 
1 ounce blue cheese, such as Maytag, Pt. Reyes Original or Gorgonzola 
1/3 cup chopped toasted walnuts 

Preheat the oven to 400. Cut a pear in half lengthwise, leaving the stem intact on one half. Using a melon baller or teaspoon, scoop out the seeds and the long fibers that run down the middle of each half. Rub the cut surface of the pear with the lemon, and set aside, cut-side up, on a plate. Repeat with the remaining pears. When done, squeeze lemon juice over all the pears. This may be done up to 2 hours in advance. 

Get out a baking dish just large enough to hold the pears in a single layer. Grease it with the butter. Sprinkle sugar over the bottom of the dish. Place the pears cut-side down in the dish. Bake until the sugar and butter melt and form a syrup, the cut surface of the pears begins to turn a little golden, and the pears are cooked through, about 35 to 40 minutes. Turn the pears over and gently push them around in the syrup. Remove to individual dessert plates or a platter. 

Put about 1 teaspoon of the cheese in each pear cavity. Scatter the walnuts over the pears, including a few on the plates or platter. Let stand about 10 minutes before serving. Serves 6