Pedagogical duties have left me less than my usual loquacious self, so I will let the images do most of the talking.
This week’s experiment is baked cheese — Brie or Camembert — with fresh fruit and nuts. A classic, it has been on my radar — obviously — forever. I’ve only just begun making it recently, however, to serve as an appetizer, or as an (especially rich) accompaniment to brunch or dinner.
You may think to yourself: this is kind of an … um … cheesy mealtime suggestion. It has, after all, been such a staple of American dinner parties for so long that it has passed from fancy to “fancy,” if you understand my meaning, and nearly (but not quite) into cheese-log territory. Or so I had been given to understand.
Perhaps I overestimated its stigma, though. Or perhaps it has been out of fashion long enough that any cheese-borne off-smells have wafted away.
And good thing, too! Reviews from my table have ranged anywhere from fabulous! to why don’t you make this more often? And given that fact — well — I thought I’d share it here.
1 Small Wheel of Brie or Camembert Cheese (I prefer the latter, as it has more pungency)
3 Small Apples (or 2 medium-to-large ones)
1 cup Green Grapes
.25 cups Chopped Pecans
Preheat your oven to 350F. Slice the apples into thin wedges, and use about half to line the bottom of a small covered baker. Sprinkle half the pecans, salt, and pepper over the layer of apple, drizzle with honey, and center the wheel of cheese on top.
Around the cheese wheel, stack the rest of the apple slices. Then sprinkle the rest of the pecans, plus salt, pepper, and a drizzle of honey, over the top.
Close the baker, and place it in the oven for twenty minutes.
At the end of that time, remove from the oven and open the top. Pierce the cheese to make sure it has melted adequately, then add the grapes anywhere that there is space remaining.
Serve immediately, piping hot, accompanied by toasted slices of baguette.