Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Brie, Pear, and Brown Sugar Crostini

My roommate from college and I were obsessed with crostini - little snacks with a baguette slice as the base. The only requirements for toppings were taste related - something sweet paired with something salty. We called them "towers" and maybe someday we'll have a cookbook of our tower inventions! For Valentine's Day we had two different trays of crostini as appetizers and this recipe is one of them. It is comprised of two sweets (the pear and brown sugar) and one salty (a slice of soft Brie cheese).

Bruschetta vs. crostini?
Some people interchange the two but it is important to know the difference, especially if you are searching the internet for a certain recipe. Bruschetta is a very specific type of crostini (just as a square is a type of parallelogram - sorry, I'm a math geek!) that is comprised of a tiny toast topped with olive oil, salt, pepper, and diced tomatoes and onions. This word is often misused to describe what is actually crostini. The word crostini is Italian for tiny toasts, so the baguette could have any topping and still be a crostini.

Ingredients (per cookie sheet)
  • 1/2 loaf baguette or other long, thin bread, sliced at a diagonal
  • 1 wedge Brie cheese, cut into small thin chunks
  • 1 pear, sliced very thinly
  • brown sugar

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Place bread slices on a cookie sheet with sides. (The bread can be touching.)
  3. Top each slice with a piece of Brie, then a pear, and finally a sprinkle of brown sugar.
  4. Bake until brown sugar melts, about 5-7 minutes but sometimes longer.

These were heavenly and disappeared pretty fast! Sometimes they are good as a light dinner if you're feeling like snack-type foods for your meal.

If you dislike brie (I'm not sure it's possible but I've heard that some people feel this way), try finding another soft cheese that is salty but still has a pretty mellow flavor.


  1. What kind of pears do you recommend?

  2. Diane -

    I used Bosc pears for this (the brown ones) but found ones that were fairly ripe since I was using them that day. I've also made these using Anjou pears, which again, were good as long as they were ripe enough since they don't soften much in the baking process.

  3. As always, your recipe looks and sounds wonderful. What's for lunch?