Christmas may be over, but we still have some of the holiday season to go.
Now, I know everyone's getting ready to "detox" and "start the new year with a new you." I'm with you (kind of), but listen: moderation is your friend. Deprivation? Not so much. More on that later, but don't skip this one just because 2017 is going to be the year you REALLY stick to boiled chicken and greens.
This appetizer would be perfect for a new years party. Decadent and cheesy, but "together" and so much more fun than some store-bought cheeseball. If you don't care about all that, throw it out the window, because it's freaking delicious.
I've made this for several parties and the reaction is always, "what is THAT?!" Cut a sliver out and the wide eyes are joined by dropped jaws, watering mouths and reaching hands.
Pierce through the crisp crust, and meet tangy-sweet, gooey cranberry sauce mixing with buttery, salty, melty brie. Bits of lightly browned, pastry. The smell. Smother. It. On. A. Cracker. Now. Lizard brain. I wish I had a picture of this, but the last few times I've made it, it's been torn apart before I even got the chance.
The rosemary and orange along with the cranberry give it the aroma every holiday party should have.
I will say I've made mini versions just to snack on at home. I won't say how many times.
(It's a bunch of times.)
Slate ran a series a few years ago with new rules for party guests and hosts: never bring brie to a party, ever again. Fighting words, those. The writer argues American brie is a pasteurized disgrace to what a true Brie should be.
He's not wrong. It's worth reading and considering, especially if you're interested in how safety regulations affect our food for better or worse.
Here's the thing: I've never been to France. I don't know if I'll ever be in France. I've never had access to a "proper" brie. I don't know if I ever will.
I am discerning and try to get the best quality I can out of what I buy. I learn all I can and try to be aware of what is and what is not authentic, traditional, "correct," and so on. But there's only so much thinking, learning and searching most of us can do before we need to pick a cheese already.
The brie he's talking about? The adulterated disappointment? It's pretty good. It's REALLY good when baked into a pastry with cranberry sauce. Maybe I'm compromising here, but I like to enjoy my life. Enjoying cheese I have access to and like instead of pining for something I can't get is something that doesn't bother me too much.
Not to say that I wouldn't go on a "real" brie hunt if the opportunity presented itself.
Also, as curious as I am to try a cheese that tastes undeniably like broccoli, I'm pretty sure it would suck with cranberry sauce. Guess I'd have to create another recipe for that.
Enjoy—the cheese and life in general.