So many of my memories center around food. This is likely due to the fact that it is my life-long love and pursuit, and, even more likely, that with so many sensory receptors involved in the simple effort of eating, my palate’s past joys are constantly being triggered.
There are a few very distinct moments in my mental album of gastronomic memories. One of the strongest and dearest being the first time in my life where a single bite brought tears to my eyes. Like a fine painting to an artist, or St. Paul’s Cathedral to an architect, earth stopped spinning, emotions surged, and a smile was no longer enough. A single bite, a single tear, and I think I heard an angel or two.
It’s easy to forget we are talking about cheese here, isn’t it?
The anomaly of food-driven tears has only occurred about three times in my life and has always resulted in effusive gushes and eventual inspiration.
It has been about 3 1/2 years since that first bite of brûléed brie and the tears that followed it, but the memory has remained fresh in my mind, and now, I get to share it with you.
If that picture of a melting, brie avalanche doesn’t illicit some sort of ecstasy, are we really friends?
You are only a wedge of brie and a propane torch away from fancy pants cheese and possibly the best bite of your life, so let’s do this.
This really is so easy, but SO incredibly mind-blowing. Take a wedge of your favorite brie and use your sharpest knife to remove the top layer of rind. Then, sprinkle with granulated sugar and torch it!
Using a torch in the kitchen makes me feel powerful and somewhat invincible. Truth.
Because I cannot leave well enough alone, and because I am such a huge fan of fruit + brie, I whipped together a super quick and flavorful black pepper and raspberry jam. It adds color and acidity and really completes this little plate of heaven.
By now, all I can think about is falling face first into this plate, but let’s show some reticence and use crackers. Or crostini! Or whatever “shovel” you deem appropriate for getting this stuff into your mouth.
When would you serve such a thing? Well, a party is one idea, and a casual Monday night at home is another. Choose your own adventure!! Just welcome this brie into your life.
Brûléed Brie with Black Pepper Raspberry Jam
12 ounces frozen raspberries
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided use
1/4 cup Merlot
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
fresh raspberries, for garnish
1/2 lb wedge double cream brie
crackers, for serving
Combine raspberries, 3/4 cup granulated sugar, Merlot, and black pepper in a 2-quart saucepan and set over medium high heat.
Stir every so often, until the mixture comes to a simmer. Reduce heat and simmer softly for 20 minutes; until thickened. Remove from heat and allow to cool until just warm.
Use a very sharp knife to slice the top rind off of the brie wedge. Discard this rind and sprinkle the top of the cheese with an even layer of the remaining sugar.
Use a propane torch to brûlée the sugar atop of the brie, until evenly melted and browned.
Spoon a bit of the prepared warm, raspberry jam around the brie and serve alongside crackers.