Monday, March 17, 2014

Recipe : Baked Brie with Caramelised Almonds (Vegetarian)

Brie is a soft French Cheese made from cow's milk. It has a harder rind on the outside which protects a soft cheese on the inside. The flavour is normally mild and not too ripe. A ripened Brie is called a Brie Noir.

Brie can be eaten as it is or baked to make it a little more gooey and runny. The rind is completely edible and best left as is (with a little hole cut out to breathe), if you plan to bake it. the rind will help keep your Brie in shape.

Brie is sold in circular shapes or triangular wedges. The circles work best for this recipe. If all you have access to is the triangular variety, then make sure that it has rind on the sides before baking it, else you'll just end up with an extremely limp quesadilla.

While I have used almonds in my recipe. All nuts work well and so do some fruits like cranberries when baking Brie.

This dish looks very fancy, but its very easy and fast to prepare, if you have all the ingredients in your pantry.

1 small round of Brie (4.5" is the commonly available size in India).
1 tsp butter (salted is fine)
2-3 tbsp brown sugar (it gives better flavour, but if you are out of brown sugar, you can try regular sugar too, just try and brown it when caramelising)
1.5 handfuls of nuts (I used almonds, you can use walnuts or pecans)
pinch of salt (or to taste)
1/2 tsp chilli powder

Special equipment :
Aluminium Foil
Oven proof small round baking dish

Method :
Bring the Brie to room temperature.

In a normal frying pan (preferably non-stick), melt the butter on a low flame.
Add half the sugar, salt, chilli powder and nuts and continue to swirl them around the pan occasionally on a low flame.
When all the ingredients (except the nuts) combine to form a sticky paste, take it off the flame and transfer the nuts onto  the aluminium foil.

Preheat your over to 180C.

Thinly slice off the top rind of the Brie, but leave the sides and bottom intact.
Place it in the oven proof bowl sliced side top.
Sprinkle the remaining brown sugar on the sliced side and then top with the caramelised nuts.
(I sprinkled the remaining nuts around the Brie too)

Bake at 180C for about 20 minutes - until you see the soft cheese bubbling and changing consistency.

Let it rest for a few minutes and then serve hot with sliced Baguettes or crackers.

This can be served as a fancy appetiser, on a cheeseboard or as a snack for 2.

Kim's Notes:
Its important to move the hot caramelised nuts out of the pan and onto the foil to prevent sticking to your pan.

Also, don't move the nuts directly onto the Brie, it will start melting on top and your cooking won't be even.

If like me, you have been taught not to waste any food in the kitchen, then slip the sliced bits under the brie when baking or keep them and use them in any pasta sauce.

Standard Brie Size is 9-15 inches, so double the recipe for a Standard serving of Brie.

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