I love pre-dinner bites and nibbles which are a combination of sweet and salty and creamy and crispy. They are just so fun and they make your taste buds happy since they have a little bit of everything! After I crisped up some pancetta slices for my Spicy Spanish-Style Pumpkin Soup, I thought it might be fun to have a little more bacon on the site and make an appetizer from them. And here we are! Crispy pancetta, sauteed ripe pears, soft goat cheese, along with some honey and thyme make for a great Italian inspired fall appetizer.
When I’m coming up with ideas on what to make here, I try to balance out different types of food and look into different parts of the Mediterranean and United States for inspiration so that it’s not too much of the same. A salad here, a pie there, some comfort food, a drink, an appetizer. I don’t want to get bored and I don’t want you to get bored! This way there is always something different coming up.
So I knew I wanted a great, fall appetizer and I knew I wanted to make another fruit-based sweet and savory appetizer. The Figs with Brie and Spiced Honey appetizer I made recently was so good, I wanted to give the whole fruit and cheese canape idea another go.
But this time with bacon!
It’s in the name. 🙂
Years I ago, I remember flipping through my Bon Appetit magazine and seeing a pancetta and pear appetizer. It looked really tasty, but I couldn’t find any thin sliced pancetta around here, so I forgot about it and moved onto new recipes. However, recently thin sliced pancetta is everywhere. It’s kind of weird! Pancetta went from only being able to find packets of chopped pieces, which are good for sauteing into a recipe, to thin sliced all over the place.
My experiments in making crispy pancetta for my pumpkin soup combined with my memories of that appetizer, so I bring to you my own version of pancetta crisps with pears and goat cheese.
Looking back at that recipe, I see that I like my pancetta a little less crisped (crispy but still pliable is my plan!), my pears caramelized in a quick saute, and I do love a drizzle of honey over the top. In fact, I tried the same spiced honey I made for the fig appetizer, though plain honey was quite nice as well.
Some further ideas on how to change it up include using a blue cheese in place of the goat cheese and using sauteed apple slices as the fruit element. I think this would be a fun appetizer to put out as a make your own platter so people can pick and choose their toppings. This would also make it a very easy party appetizer since you wouldn’t need to make the canapes yourself!
– Happy Eating, Annemarie
- 12 slices thin pancetta
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 ripe but firm pear cut into 12 "1/4-inch" slices
- 4 oz soft goat cheese
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
- Preheat oven to 425F.
- Lay out the pancetta in a single layer on baking sheets. Bake until golden and crisp, 5-7 minutes. Transfer the pancetta crisps to a plate layered with paper towels.
- While the pancetta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a skillet. Add the pear slices and saute until golden brown, 2 minutes on each side.
- Layer each pancetta crisp with a pear slice, then top with a teaspoon of goat cheese. Sprinkle the canapes with thyme and drizzle with honey.
The pancetta will crisp up more as they cool. Take them out when you think they might still be a little underdone.
Don't assemble these canapes ahead of time. The moisture in the pear slices and the cheese will soften the pancetta crisps. However, you can make all the elements ahead of time and just save the assembly to the last minute.
My Spiced Honey recipe is a great one for this recipe and can be used in place of the plain honey.
The pancetta crisps are fairly stiff when you first assemble the canapes; however, they can be a bit crumbly and will soften with time, so I do think that small appetizer plates are good to have on hand. Also, layering them onto crackers can help keep them stable and provide more structure.
I used a creamy, spreadable goat cheese. If you goat cheese is crumbly, mix it together with a little bit of milk. That will allow you to spoon it out onto the canapes.