While dining out the other night, one of the appetizers we had was a baked brie with pecans and a blueberry compote and it was to die for. I've always been fond of baked brie (or any cheese for that matter) but I have only ever had it baked in puff pastry. This dish brought the brie to a whole new level and the absence of the rich puff pastry made for a perfect beginning to our dinner.
It's not as if baked brie really needs help in the flavour department but the pecans and blueberries complimented the cheese amazingly. It was so good that I haven't stopped thinking about it. I get like that every so often (always) since all I really think about is food. While I'm eating breakfast I'm thinking about what I'm going to make for dinner. I would say it's a curse and I'm sure my behind and waistline would tell you it most certainly is but I am powerless to it, I've given up, or in, or out depending on how you look at it. Anyway, I knew I had to make this baked brie especially because it's the holidays and I do believe that this would make a perfect appetizer for a dinner party or ummm, like, a regular Thursday night. Either way, here's my interpretation of the dish.
1 wheel brie cheese
1/2 small yellow onion, sliced very thinly
1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon butter
1/2 teaspoon oil
1/2 cup walnuts
1/3 cup sugar
For the brie:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Place the brie on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake the brie for 15-20 minutes.
3. Remove the brie from the oven and allow to cool for about 10-15 minutes before serving.
Serve the brie with the blueberry compote and candied walnuts. (See below)
For the candied walnuts:
1. Toast the walnuts. There are a few ways to do this:
a) Place the walnuts in a skillet over low-medium heat and gently toast the walnuts, stirring occasionally, until they are fragrant, about 8 minutes.
b) Spread the walnuts on a plate and microwave on high heat for 4-5 minutes or until fragrant.
c) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the walnuts on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 8-10 minutes or until fragrant.
Whichever way you choose to toast the nuts just be sure to keep a close eye on them as they will burn very easily.
2. In a heavy bottomed saucepan melt the sugar over high heat.
3. Once the sugar has dissolved and is bubbling, add the walnuts and stir immediately.
4. Working quickly, pour the walnut and sugar mixture on a wax paper or parchment paper lined baking sheet and using two forks, separate the walnut pieces. (Don't touch the hot candied walnuts as the sugar will burn you) Allow the nuts to cool.
For the blueberry compote:
1. Heat 1/2 teaspoon oil and half a teaspoon butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and saute for about 15-20 minutes or until a light golden colour and they become caramelized.
2. Add the blueberries, water, sugar and balsamic vinegar to the caramelized onions and bring mixture to a high simmer.
3. Reduce the heat to low-medium and simmer the sauce for about 15 minutes or until most of the liquid has been absorbed and the sauce is thick.
4. Set the sauce aside and allow it to come to room temperature.
Thursday, December 10, 2009