Like any ornery, self-righteous ginger headed Gemini, I require quite a bit of persuasion in just about every facet of life. Unless I’m provided a convincing exhaustive bullet point list of reasoning, my stubborn ideas stick like Gorilla Glue. Except for when it comes to cheese. Subtle whisperings of gooey gouda or melted mozzarella and I’m sold. No bullet point list necessary.
Cheese and fruit come together in holy matrimony in this Panini. Caramelized pear with fresh cranberry sauce gives a sweet, tart balance to the salty creamy cheese and crispy bread. Your Kraft singles grilled cheese grew up and blossomed into a real beaut. It’s seasonal and great for using your homemade cranberry sauce or chutney around the holidays.
Caramelized Pear & Cranberry Sauce Panini
- 1 pear, sliced lengthwise into ¼” pieces
- 3 – 4 tablespoons almond or coconut milk (or 1 tbl butter)
- 6 slices emmentaler (Swiss) cheese*
- 2 tablespoons cranberry sauce or chutney (either homemade or from a jar, not from a can)
- 2 thick slices rustic bread**
- 1 tablespoon butter
- Begin by caramelizing the pear slices.
- Place slices in a skillet over medium heat. Warm for about a minute then flip to the other side and continue to heat. Flip a few more times, allowing pear slices to soften.
- Add half the almond/coconut milk to the skillet and allow it to bubble and boil off. Flip the pears over, add the rest of the milk and cook until pears are slightly browned and soft but still retain their shape, about 3 to 5 minutes.
- Turn on your Panini maker or heat your skillet to medium-high.
- Butter the bread on the sides that will be touching the Panini maker/skillet.
- Compile your sandwich, adding the caramelized pear, cranberry sauce and making sure cheese slices If using a Panini maker, simply put the sandwich in, close the lid and cook 2 - 3 minutes until you have crispy grill-marked bread and the cheese is melted. If using a skillet, cook a couple of minutes on one side before flipping to the other and cooking another 2 minutes. Continue flipping until the cheese is melted and the bread is golden-brown.
*my emmentaler slices are about 1” wide and 4” long. Adjust amount of cheese used according to your taste and size of cheese slices.
**I baked gluten-free bread from a bread mix, which turned out great. I recommend focaccia bread, sliced sandwich bread or even sour dough but nothing too herby.