Said to have originated from Reuil-en-Brie south of Paris, brie is a versatile cheese that’s equally at home on cheeseboards as it is in sauces, soups, and fondues.
Words by Andrea Abbot.
Its rich, creamy texture also makes it ideal for baking either in puff pastry (brie en croute) or, more easily, in an ovenproof dish.
Says Carolyn Burchell of the La Petite France Cheese Café on Preston Farm near Howick KZN, “There are various ways to flavour a brie for baking. Examples are: white wine and thyme; honey and nuts; preserved figs in their own syrup or ginger.”
The most popular one served at the La Petite France Café uses rosemary and garlic. This is Carolyn’s recipe.
- Choose a fairly ripe Brie round – about 5 to 6 weeks old.
- Use a round, oven-proof dish slightly bigger than the brie itself.
- Score the brie in a lattice form just half way down the round.
- Place some thinly sliced garlic between the slices.
- Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of pure olive oil over the whole cheese and a teaspoon of fresh rosemary leaves.
- Bake at 180 degrees for about 20 minutes or until the outside edges are bubbling and the centre feels soft to the touch.
And voila! A gourmet treat that will satisfy the most discerning cheese connoisseur. Better still, as Carolyn says, “No cutlery is required – just dunk a chunk of fresh bread into it (fondue-style) or whatever else you prefer. Perfect to share as a starter or with pre-dinner drinks.”
By the way, beautiful, top quality brie and champagne are a marriage made in heaven.
Eat, drink and brie happy!