Monday, March 12, 2012

A different kind of cheesecake

It's no secret that I'm a cheese gal--even for dessert.  Although a deep rich dark chocolate anything is up there, in the end, I'll choose a triple cream brie every time.  There's something sexy about licking it off my finger--even as I engage in total disbelief and pretend that it won't end up on my thighs.  So recently when I offered to bring something to a fundraising champagne and dessert gala, I immediately opted for a brie cake.   You've seen it before.  It's behind the glass case in the cheese shop at Wegman's or Whole Foods.  It's outrageously expensive--more outrageous when you realize how utterly easy and cheap it is to make yourself.  Indeed, the fact that these grocers persist in such abject thievery wholly exonerates that I've copied it whole cloth and am posting the results here.

Brie "Cake"

1.  Go buy a small wheel of a good rich and creamy brie.

2.  In a small bowl mix together the following:  1/2 cup apricot preserves, 2 Tbsp. golden raisins, 2 Tbsp. dark raisins, 2 Tbsp. craisins, 2 Tbsp. chopped dried apricots, and 2 Tbsp. of chopped walnuts or pecans.  You will have a gloopy concoction.  If it's too gloopy, add more dried fruits and/or nuts.  If it's too dry, add more preserves.  You can be creative with this step.  I have substituted caramel sauce, maple syrup and  raspberry preserves for the apricot preserves, but in the end, I think that the apricot preserves are best.  Your choice.  It's a free country.

3.  Slice the rind off the top of the brie.

4.  Slice the brie wheel in half, horizontally, to obtain two layers of your "cake".

5.  Spread about half the mixture on top of one of the layers, and top it off with the other layer.

6.  Pile the remaining mixture on the top layer.  The mixture should be thick enough that you can pile it into an attractive rounded pyramid.

7.  Garnish with walnut or pecan halves or dried apricot halves.  Serve it with crackers, french bread, or my favorite:  just slice it into wedges and serve it like the cheesecake that it is.

P.S.  The beauty of this dish is that any leftovers can be cut up, rolled up into raw puff pastry and baked for another entirely different and decadent dessert or appetizer.  

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