Baked cheese with cranberries, pecan and maple syrup

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These days we had our first snow this winter. If the Christmas wasn’t white, at least New Year will be. It will be cold they say. It doesn’t really matter. I managed -40ºc in Montreal last year. I fear nothing!
And this will be the first New Year after four years I’ve been spending it away from home. I am really happy and excited about it!

It’s funny how I never had the idea of organizing a good dinner before going to France couple of years ago. I like the idea of organizing a New Year’s dinner at home before going out. But the last thing I want is to spend my evening in the kitchen cooking, preparing plates and serving. So, do it yourself/themselves convivial dishes are a must.

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Baked soft french cheese such as Camembert, Brie, Coulommiers, Pont l’Evêque, Neufchâtel served with some good french bread (aka sourdough) is simple and cheap solution that needs only a trick or two to turn it into a most luxurious dish. And it will keep you away from kitchen, being able to hang out with your friends while spreading the soft cheese over your slice of bread, splashing it down with some good red, being in the middle of the action.

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It’s a recipe you can use in every season. Put on some mild olive oil and rosemary in the summer. Top it with figs and honey. Stick in couple of garlic cloves and thyme in the autumn. Or do as I did, being inspired by my travels to Canada: cranberries, pecans and maple syrup.

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Ingredients:

  • whole soft french cheese like Camembert, Brie, Coulommiers, Pont l’Evêque, Neufchâtel…
  • handful of dried cranberries + water to cover them
  • 3 Tbsp roughly chopped pecans (you can also replace them with walnuts)
  • 3 Tbsp maple syrup (or use agave syrup instead)

Preparation:

  1. Roughly chop cranberries, cover them with water and cook over a medium fire to get a jam consistency.
  2. Unwrap cheese, put it on a sheet of baking paper. Top with cranberries, chopped pecans and drizzle with maple syrup.
  3. Bake in preheated oven at 180ºc for 8 – 10 mins.
  4. Serve with some good grilled bread and a glass of red wine.

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