Pancetta Cups with Goat Cheese and Pears

makes 16 cups

16 thin slices (about 1/2 pound) of pancetta (not paper thin)

1 large or 2 small pears, peeled, cored and diced (I like to use Comice pears)

1 Tablespoon lemon juice

4 ounces mild goat cheese

1 Tablespoon half-and-half

1 Tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

Honey to drizzle

Snuggly fit the slices of pancetta into the wells of a mini-muffin pan.  To help keep their shape while baking, ball up a small piece of aluminum foil and place into a pancetta cup.  Repeat with the remaining cups.  Place the pan into a cold oven and close the door.  Turn the oven to 400º F and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the pancetta is browned and crisp.  Carefully remove the cups, discarding the foil ball, and place them on a paper towel-lined rack to cool.  The cups will continue to crisp as they cool.

Meanwhile, toss the pears with the lemon juice in a medium bowl; set aside.  In a separate bowl, stir together the goat cheese and half-and-half.

Transfer the pancetta cups to a serving plate.  FIll each cup with a spoonful of pears.  Pipe using a piping bag or place dollops of the cheese mixture onto the pears.  Sprinkle with the thyme leaves and drizzle with honey.  Serve immediately.  Enjoy!

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