Pear Salad Stack

I guess I would say I’m a fan of any food that manages to pull off an optical illusion while also tasting delicious. You know, like a cake in the shape of a hamburger. Or truffles…(their optical illusion is leading you to believe that something so small couldn’t possibly contain so many calories). This pear salad stack is its own trompe l’oeil, giving the clever impression that a piece of fruit magically unlocked like a 1990’s Caboodle to let a delicious filling of goat cheese, almonds, and dried cranberries hop into its nooks and crannies. Basically, if M. C. Escher ever drew a pear, it would look like this. Thankfully, it’s not nearly as complex and mind-bending as all that. This is probably one of the most interesting salad presentations you can get for the least amount of effort–just the kind of unconventional menu item that makes a lovely first course for a dinner party or a big hit with non-fruit-loving kids. The only downside is having to take it apart to eat it!

Pear Salad Stack


4 large pears
3/4 c. dried cranberries
3/4 c. crumbled goat cheese
1/2 c. sliced almonds
Balsamic vinegar (optional)


1. In a medium bowl, combine dried cranberries, crumbled goat cheese, and sliced almonds.

2. Slice pears horizontally into four equal pieces, then remove core from each piece using a sharp knife. (Alternatively, if you have an apple corer, use it to remove the entire core first, then slice into four pieces.)

3. On four individual plates, layer pear pieces and goat cheese mixture vertically. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar, if desired.

Serves 4.

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