Stilton Crostini with Pears & Candied Walnuts

The textures and tastes in this recipe herald the arrival of Christmas celebrations. We reccomend preparing the crostinini a day in advance for ease, so you can make up your canapés at leisure before your guests arrive. 

Makes:                        16

Ingredients:                 1 small baguette, sliced into thin slices

                                    2-3 tablespoons olive oil

                                    sea salt

                                    100g sugar

                                    100g walnuts

                                    115g stilton, chopped

                                    115g cream cheese

                                    1 red pear, cored, thinly sliced and cut into bite size pieces, tossed in juice of half a lemon

                                    small handful of micro herbs to garnish                              

Method:                       Pre-heat the oven to 190C/170C fan/Gas 5.                                 

First make the crostini bases by brushing the baguette slices both sides with oil and place on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt. Place in the oven and bake for 5 minutes each side, or until lightly golden, turning them over halfway through. Set aside on a rack to cool. Keep the oven on for the candied walnuts.                                     

Next make the candied walnuts. Tip the walnuts onto a baking sheet, making sure they are in a single layer. Place in the oven for 5 minutes until lightly toasted, but watch that they don’t burn. Remove from the oven and place in a bowl by the hob.

Line a baking tray with baking paper or a silicon baking mat. Add the sugar to a medium heavy based saucepan and place over a low heat. Allow the sugar to melt, swirling the pan gently occasionally, but do not stir. Keep a close watch on the pan and as soon as the sugar has melted and has turned a medium amber colour, add the walnuts.  Stir quickly to coat each piece and tip onto the lined baking sheet. Working quickly, separate the walnuts with a pair of forks. Sprinkle with salt and set aside cool. 

Add the stilton and cream cheese to a food processor and pulse until smooth and creamy. Spoon into a piping bag and pipe (or spread) a little on to each crostini base. Top with a slice of pear, a walnut piece and garnish with micro herbs. Place on a wooden board and serve immediately.