MAPLE, PECAN & CRANBERRY BRIE
The hills and valleys of New England are awash in color as the equinox prepares us for the onset of Autumn. Magenta, deep purple, caramel, sunflower gold, bronze, honey, apricot, russet, copper, orange, and various reds transform the color of the landscape for a few brief weeks in which a bit of magic seems to bubble in nature. The sky is for the most part a cloudless gorgeous azure-cyan blue, the days shorten quickly, and the day and night time temperatures fluctuate dramatically. Sweater weather sets in and sucking Thoreau's marrow out of life seems an urgent task. October may be America's most glorious month for outdoor adventure seeking. It is also peak harvest time that provides the bounty for soul thrilling eating. Cranberry bogs and pecan orchards are two of nature's fall table gifts. Combining these colorful and divinely American tastes with some tree tapped maple syrup and a swig of southern barrel-aged corn spirits provides a delectable topping for an oven warmed brie. A bit of black pepper coaxes out the sweetness of the cranberries and adds a punch of spice to the bourbon laced maple syrup. Serve with a loaf of crusty bread and farmer's market greens tossed in olive oil spiked with a hint of mustard and lemon juice and it is almost guaranteed no one will miss the meat.
Nota bene: Room temperature brie insures that the brie will melt quickly and warm the fruit and nuts without burning them. Triple cream brie works, but be prepared for super melting and a less than beautiful look (although it will taste divine). Buy only the amount of pecans needed--the taste begins to deteriorate almost immediately and they go rancid quickly. WESTON TABLE BARREL-AGED BOURBON & RYE MAPLE SYRUP heightens the experience of this whiskey nuanced brie.
9.5 ounce wheel of double cream brie
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon 100% pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon Kentucky bourbon
1/3 cup chopped pecans
1/3 cup dried cranberries
Zest of half an orange
Freshly ground black pepper
Maldon Sea Salt Flakes
Remove the brie from the refrigerator an hour or two before needed.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Place the brie into a snug fitting oven safe dish such as the STAUB 6" GRATIN .
- Top the brie with the pecans, the cranberries, and the orange zest. Tuck some of the nuts and fruit around the bottom perimeter of the dish.
- Mix the maple syrup with the bourbon and pour 1/4 cup of the maple syrup over the pecans, cranberries, zest, and brie. Allow some of the syrup to drip down the sides.
- Place the dish in the oven and bake for 5 to 7 minutes until the brie is oozing but not melting (alternatively, use a cast iron dish and place directly on the grill).
- Remove the brie from the oven and sprinkle with the remaining tablespoon of maple syrup, a pinch of sea salt flakes, and a few grinds of fresh black pepper.
Serve immediately with crackers or toasted baguette slices.