Recipe by Chef Kate
This is adapted from a Thomas Keller recipe which uses Brie de Meaux and Tellicherry peppercorns. It is, for those of us mortals who have neither item at our fingertips, quite delicious with plain old good quality brie and freshly ground black pepper. Another recipe which looks long and complicated, but it is really pretty simple and can be done in bits, and then assembled at the last moment before serving.
- 1 cup black mission fig, fresh, quartered (about 5 figs)
- 1⁄4 cup port wine
- 12 ounces brie cheese
- 1⁄4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 18 slices baguette, cut on the bias (thin slices)
- sea salt
Directions See How It's Made
- Put the figs and wine in a small saucepan, bring to a boil and simmer, stirring constantly, until most of the Port has reduced, 5 to 6 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and reserve.
- Remove the rind from the Brie; you should have about 8 ounces left.
- Put the cold cheese into a mixer with a paddle attachment and beat at medium speed, scraping down the sides from time to time, for about 10 minutes, until the cheese is very white and creamy; beat in the pepper; this can be refrigerated until you are ready to assemble the 'stack.'.
- Add 1 tablespoon oil to a large skillet and heat over medium heat.
- Drizzle about one-eighth teaspoon of balsamic vinegar over each slice of baguette in a thin line, brush lightly with oil on both sides and cook each side until golden brown, about 2 minutes.
- Brown the bread in batches.
- Remove from the heat and reserve (the bread can be stored in a plastic bag or container until needed).
- For each serving put a slice of toasted bread ('crouton') on the plate, then angle a quenelle (an oval of cheese shaped with two spoons) of Brie over the crouton.
- Top with a second crouton and another quenelle of Brie, then another crouton. Place about a tablespoon of the fig compote and a sprinkle of sea salt next to the stack and serve immediately.
- Serve the six 'stacks' immediately.