Wisconsin brie cheese is one of my favorite soft cheeses, and as amazing as it tastes on its own – with its earthy, ripe flavors and soft creamy center – I love to add a little touch of sweetness. And my love for desserts, particularly crème brûlée, gave me inspiration. Rather than just drizzle the brie with honey (which totally works if you’re short on time), I chose to sprinkle some sugar on each brie round and caramelize the top with one of my favorite kitchen tools, a chef’s blow torch. Or, you can use your oven broiler if you don’t have a chef’s torch on hand.
I highly recommend using a log of brie instead of the traditional round for this appetizer, and here’s why: If using a wedge from a round, the high heat from the torch (or broiler) will make the cheese melt and become very gooey, which isn’t a bad thing, until it’s melting right off the crostini. On the other hand, when you use a slice from a brie log, it still has rind all around it. This rind does not melt as easily as the center and acts like a wall, keeping the melted cheese intact and saving it from oozing all over…genius!
To create a more complex flavor, I spread each crostini with a small amount of fig butter, available from most cheese shops and grocery stores. Then I sprinkled each circle of brie with some regular granulated sugar. And last, I fire up the blow torch and caramelize the sugar just as if I were making crème brûlée. The crunchy sugar top will be a lot thinner, but it still captures that smoky sweet flavor of the burnt sugar, which goes really well with the Wisconsin brie.
By Gerry of Foodness Gracious
Servings: Makes 26 pieces
1 medium French baguette
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 log (6 ounces) Wisconsin brie cheese
1 cup fig butter or spread
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped
Honey for garnishing, optional
Preheat oven to 375°F. Line baking tray with parchment paper.
Slice baguette into 26 pieces, each approximately a half-inch thick. Lay on baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Bake in oven for 10-12 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes.
Spread fig butter evenly on top of each crostini. Slice Wisconsin brie log into 26 slices and place a piece on each crostini. Sprinkle brie rounds with a pinch of sugar each. Caramelize sugar with chef’s blow torch (or place under hot broiler, watching carefully) until cheese starts to bubble.
Garnish with fresh rosemary and light drizzle of honey. Serve immediately.