I was attracted to this idea (a recipe contest using Brie cheese) because of my paternal grandmother's maiden name, La Brie. I thought I could come up with some cute approach.
But the truth is, if someone along the St. Lawrence River, circa 1700, had not begun calling a guy named Migneault by the name LaBrie, she might have been Laura Migneault. I suppose the moniker was a reflection of the Migneault's roots in Melun, a cheesemaking city south of Paris - an ancient version of Cheesehead (as we Badgers are often called). "Dit" names, as they are known to every genealogist with a French Canadian heritage, can also reflect an occupation. Perhaps I am descended from cheesemakers.
I was running out of cute when I realized I had to turn in my recipe and photo by tomorrow.
My first couple of ideas flopped. I was desperate. But not out of ideas. A few years ago, my husband and I caught Emeril Lagasse's baked brie show on the Food Network. We've been enjoying that treat ever since, usually around the holidays.
What about baked dip? I scrounged around the cupboard and found dried cherries, a staple, and a bag of pecans. Here's what I came up with:
Baked Brie Dip with Dried Cherries and Pecans
1 package Ile de France Brie Cheese, trimmed and cubed
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon brown sugar
dash fleur de sel
1/3 cup chopped pecans
2 teaspoons dried cherries
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter in small saucepan over low heat. Add chunks of brie and stir until melted and blended. Stir in brown sugar and fleur de sel, gradually adding pecans and cherries. Place in a small ramekin and bake for 20-30 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes.
The result is a slightly sweet cheesy spread for crackers with the merest hint of salt. I tried it with Triscuits and French bread, and preferred the crackers, although my husband thought a less salty cracker would be best.
I'm tasting this on thin slices of whole wheat beer bread, slightly toasted.
NoteIn the interests of transparency, I must disclose that I was invited to join this contest. The cheese was provided by Ile de France. I have no hopes of winning, but it was fun!