Cheese is a beautiful thing. Making good cheese requires time and dedication and is the life work of many fromagers around the world.
These days it is so much easier to find artisanal cheeses, as most grocery stores have some form of a specialty department. There is no excuse to buy American singles. No excuse!
My favorite cheeses (mmm…it’s hard to narrow it down) are Gruyère, Comté, Chevre, Raclette, and most of all, Brie.
Oh, Brie! Creamy, musky Brie. You don’t have to ask me twice to devour this cheese and my favorite way to do this is baked Brie. Gently melting it in the oven helps coax out it’s mellow flavors and pairs wonderfully with sweet jams, nuts, and spicy pestos. Baked Brie is a delicious meal that comes together in a snap and is a sophisticated addition to a party spread (say a Super Bowl party spread?).
Note: This isn’t an exact recipe. Based on how many people you are serving and what kind of Brie you buy, it is going to be a little different for everyone, but here are some ideas for whipping up some of your own!! I used to wrap my Brie and the topping in puff pastry dough or phyllo dough before baking, but have recently stripped it down to just the cheese and topping, but you are free to do this.
Brie – the higher quality the better. You can buy rounds and wedges of any size based on how many you are serving.
Toppings – raspberry jam (pictured above), pesto (pictured above), brown sugar and sliced almonds (pictured above), cranberry preserves, sun-dried tomatoes. Again, the amounts will depend on how much you are making
Serve with – apple slices, pear slices, endive leaves, toasted pita, crackers, crusty baguette.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place wedge or round of Brie onto lined baking sheet. Cover with desired topping (i.e. is using raspberry jam, cover entire top of cheese with jam or sprinkle a little brown sugar and sliced almonds on top). Bake Brie for 10-20 minutes until soft and melting (the amount of time this takes in based on the softness of the Brie).
Transfer to a platter and serve with crackers and fruit.