This dessert is perfect for people who don’t actually enjoy desserts because it’s usually too sweet. Luckily, this dessert has a salty surprise to break that sweetness.
Pears are one of the fruits that pair beautifully with Halloumi cheese. And most of the sweetness will come from the browned pears and the sauce as it is mixed with brown sugar. However, even though dates have a naturally sweet taste, the sauce will be infused with spices like cumin, coriander, pepper, and cardamom. This will definitely break some of the sweetness and compliment the salt flavour from the Halloumi. The sweetness of the grilled pears also matches the crispy, salty Halloumi perfectly.
What is Halloumi cheese?
Halloumi originated from Cyprus and is a semi-hard, unripened, brined cheese. Traditionally, it is made from sheep and goat’s milk, however, it can be made from cow’s milk too.
Since Halloumi’s texture is firmer than other cheese, it is perfect for frying and browning. And there is no need to dredge the cheese or even use oil in the pan. The cheese browns naturally from the sugar in the brine and keeps its shape. And when placing the cheese slices in the pan, be sure not to crowd them so as to not disturb the browning method.
- zest and juice of 2 lemons
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- ¾ tsp ground cardamom (only the black seeds from within the green pod)
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 250 g dates, cut in half, and pits removed
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- halloumi cheese cut into 8 slices
- 2 pears, quartered, de-seeded, and sliced into 8 pieces
- 100 g blueberries
- 100 ml mixed berry juice
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- In a small sauté pan, big enough to hold the dates, mix the lemon juice, lemon zest, and brown sugar and cook over medium heat, keep on stirring, until the brown sugar melts.
- Add the spices and dates and cook until the dates soften a little, add the blueberries and cook for about 5 minutes.
- Stir in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and 100g mixed berry juice and set the mixture aside.
- Heat a large nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Arrange the cheese slice in the skillet, being careful not to overlap or crowd them.
- Brown the cheese, about 2 minutes on each side, or until golden brown on each side.
- Place the halloumi side by side in a baking oven dish.
- Using the same sauté pan, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil on medium-high heat and then add the pears. Brown the pears for 4 to 5 minutes on one side, you can add a tablespoon of butter, it just makes them yummier and soft.
- Remove the pears from the pan and add them to the baking dish with the halloumi.
- Spoon a date and some of the sauce onto each piece of halloumi and place the pan in the oven until it gets hot and the cheese gets a little softer for 6 to 8 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the oven, place it on the table, and without waiting serve with the remaining sauce.
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