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  • Blue Cheesecake With Cabernet-Caramelized Pears and Pepper-Walnut Crust

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  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
    1 cup sugar, divided
    1 cup walnuts
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    2 teaspoons ground black pepper
    6 tablespoons butter, melted
    1 pound (two 8-ounce packages) cream cheese, at room temperature
    8 ounces Rogue Creamery or other strong blue cheese
    3 eggs
    4 fresh, firm pears, such as bosc
    1 1/2 cups cabernet sauvignon
    1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
    Heat oven to 350 F.
    In a food processor, pulse together 1 cup of the flour and 1/4 cup of the sugar with the walnuts, salt and black pepper until walnuts are size of small peas. Add the butter and pulse until mixture is just moistened. Press mixture into bottom of a 10-inch, springform pan. Bake for 15 minutes in preheated oven or until golden around edges and fragrant. Leave oven on.
    While crust bakes, mix cake filling.
    In bowl of a stand mixer, combine the cream cheese, blue cheese, remaining 1/4 cup flour and 1/4 cup of the sugar. Mix on medium-low until well combined, scraping down sides of bowl several times. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating and scraping bowl in between until eggs are thoroughly incorporated.
    After crust is baked, pour filling into pan and bake for another 30 to 40 minutes, or until center just barely jiggles when you shake pan and top slightly puffs. Remove from oven and set aside to cool to room temperature, about 1 hour. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours (and up to 2 days) before serving.
    To prepare the pears, peel pears, then cut each half lengthwise. Scoop out and discard cores.
    In a deep saute pan, combine the wine, vinegar, remaining 1/2 cup sugar and a pinch of salt. Bring mixture to a simmer and add pears, core-side down. Allow mixture to simmer until liquid is syrupy and pears are caramelized and tender, occasionally basting pears with liquid, about 20 minutes. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
    When ready to serve, run a knife around edge of springform pan to loosen cheesecake. Remove sides of pan. If desired, run a long spatula under crust and slide cake onto a serving plate. Top cheesecake with caramelized pears.
    Makes 24 servings.
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