This recipe includes all the best holiday ingredients that make for the perfect appetizer. Including cheese in holiday entertaining is a must, but why not shake up the traditional with something a little different?
“Topped with poached fruit in rich syrup, this enticing twist on baked cheese replaces the usual brie with creamy soft washed rind cheese. Serve it to your guests meltingly warm from the oven with your favourite crackers, flatbread, or sliced baguette for spreading,” recommends Tom Filippou, executive chef for President’s Choice cooking school.
Baked Cheese with Apple-Pear Confit
• 1 round (170 g) PC La Belle Rivière washed-rind soft surface ripened cheese
• 1 Granny Smith apple
• 1 Bosc pear
• 1 cup (250 mL) dry white wine
• 1/2 cup (125 mL) PC Black Label simple syrup cocktail mixer
• 1 2×1 inch (5×2.5 cm) piece lemon zest
• 2 tsp (10 mL) fresh lemon juice
• 1 tbsp (15 mL) toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped
1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Cut top rind off cheese; discard rind. Place cheese in glass pie plate. Set aside and let come to room temperature, about 30 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, peel, core, and dice apple and pear; place in small saucepan. Add wine, cocktail mixer, lemon zest, and juice. Bring to boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until fruit is very tender or about 18 to 20 minutes.
3. Remove fruit from poaching liquid using slotted spoon; set aside. Return pan to stove top over medium heat; cook, stirring occasionally, 10 to 12 minutes or until liquid is reduced to about 1/4 cup and is a light golden caramel colour. Remove from heat and let cool for 15 minutes. Combine fruit and poaching liquid; set aside.
4. Bake cheese 4 to 6 minutes or until softened and warmed through. Spoon 1/4 cup apple-pear confit mixture on top; sprinkle with hazelnuts. Serve in pie plate with crackers and flatbread.
Per serving: Calories 110, fat 9 g, sodium, 220 mg, carbohydrates 4g, fibre 1 g, protein, 6 g.