Pear and White Cheddar Tartines on Pecan Fruit Bread
I first had pears in a sandwich at ‘Wichcraft, in New York City, during one of the twice-yearly 4 day trips that my husband E and I take to New York each year, in order to eat great food, see Broadway shows, visit museums, walk around, and eat more great food.
The Wichcraft sandwich that features pears is listed on the menu as a grilled cheddar – it also contains smoked ham, is made with cranberry pecan bread, and is heated in a press. The ham didn’t do much for me when I tried the sandwich in New York, but I liked the combination of cheese, fruit and nutty bread so much that I tried to recreate it at home almost as soon as I returned.
I couldn’t find any cranberry pecan bread at my usual haunts in Toronto, but Ace Bakery makes a nicely textured cranberry focaccia with raisins that I thought I could adapt to the cause. I put pear slices, white cheddar and pecan halves in between slices of the focaccia, grilled the sandwiches in a George Forman grill, and served them at a family lunch, to some acclaim–enough to earn the combination a place in my regular lunchtime rotation.
A year or so later, E came home one day from a bakery called Epi Breads with a pecan fruit (aka raisins and currants) loaf. When I tried a slice for breakfast, with butter, it toasted beautifully– the raisins turned plump, the grayish slice browned to an attractive hue, the slices of pecan imbedded in the bread slice came out of the toaster crunchy and roasted-tasting.
The pecan fruit bread was also excellent in grilled cheese sandwiches with pears. And one day when I couldn’t be bothered to get out the George Foreman, I did nothing more than toast the bread, then layer slivers of aged white cheddar and crisp slices of green Bartlett pear on top. I liked the new, simpler variation even more than the melted cheese version. There’s something so sensuously satisfying about the contrasting textures and flavours in each bite that have made the pear and white cheddar tartine on pecan fruit bread my go-to lunch sandwich at home.
Here’s a nifty drawing of the tartine by Lisa Orgler, keeper of the lunchbox project blog. Check out her blog for some cool food art!