Brillat-Savarin and I have been getting together — a lot. Not the man, who hasn’t been around for 190 years. But the cheese, which is immortal.

Who can resist those square shoulders, that tender soul? Who can turn down the triple-cream brie named for Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, the savant who said: “The discovery of a new dish confers more happiness on humanity than the discovery of a new star.” This is the wit who declared (in French, no less): “Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are.”

What I am, apparently, is fierce for mild.

Brillat-Savarin offers a buttery bite with a snap of salt and prickle of sour. It’s good at all hours — and even better after hours. A wedge wedged between planks of caramelized pear makes for a devastating dessert — one sure to confer happiness.

Grilled Pears

Serves 4.

From the Chicago Tribune.

• 4 oz. brie (such as Brillat-Savarin or Moses Sleeper) or other triple-cream cow’s milk cheese

• 4 firm, ripe Bartlett pears

• 1 stick (1/2 c.) unsalted butter

• 6 tbsp. dark brown sugar

• 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

• 1 pinch salt


Cut cheese into 12 small portions. Let rest at room temperature.

Leave skin on pears. Slice each the long way into 1/3-inch-wide planks. Use a paring knife or apple corer to punch out any seeds. (Each slice will look something like a guitar: pear profile with a hole in the belly.) Set pears on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, whisk together butter, sugar, vanilla extract and salt until thick and foamy, about 4 minutes. Keep this caramel sauce warm over low heat.

Brush each pear plank lightly on both sides with sauce.

Spark a medium-hot fire. Clean and oil grates. (Or use a ridged griddle pan set over medium heat.) Grill pears, turning once or twice, until golden brown and nicely crisscrossed with grill marks, about 8 minutes.

Fan out 4 pear planks separated by 3 cheese wedges on each plate. (The warm pears will melt the cheese.) Drizzle each with about 1 tablespoon of the remaining sauce.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 450 Fat 31 g Sodium 260 mg Saturated fat 20 g

Carbohydrates 41 g Total sugars 31 g

Protein 7 g Cholesterol 90 mg Dietary fiber 6 g

Exchanges per serving: 2 fruit, 1 carb, 1 high-fat meat, 4½ fat.