Years (and yeeears) ago, I lived in Maine, as did some friends of my sister's and mine.
And one time (and then more times after that), we took a trip to the lovely bayside town of Camden.
And while there, we dined at a place called Cappy's Chowder House. Famous for their luscious and unforgettable White "chowda" served with homemade common crackers (the bigger, hardcore version of an oyster cracker), they also served an appetizer called the Brie Rudder. It was a wedge of brie topped with sliced almonds in a light brown sugary glaze served on a small wooden rudder and accompanied by a half a baguette, grapes and maybe other fresh fruit.
That may have been the start of my love affair with runny cheese.
I noticed that the Brie Rudder isn't listed on the menu right now, but maybe it's a seasonal item, saved for warm summer evenings when a breeze blows in from Penobscot Bay and time kicks off its shoes and cracks open a beer. I hope so, anyway.
Fast forward to a couple nights ago, and here's what I concocted…
I had a wedge of brie.
I had a frozen sheet of puff pastry dough. (You can also make your own puff pastry dough. It's easier than you'd think!)
And I had some other yummy ingredients that I thought might go nicely together.
While the dough thawed, I combined about a third of a cup of ground almonds, a quarter of a cup or so of orange marmalade, and a handful (okay, around a quarter cup) of dried cranberries, and a tablespoon of butter in a small saucepan and cooked them until I could smell the almonds toasting. I poured the thickened mixture onto a plate to cool and rolled out my puff pastry dough.
I also set the oven to 375, but next time around I might bump it to 400.
I set the brie on the center of the dough.
I topped the brie with the cooled almond/marmalade/cranberry mixture.
And then…well, I created this monstrosity.
It sort of reminded me of something Andrew Zimmern might nosh on, after it had been skinned and roasted over an open flame. Near a cave. In a desert.
Yes, I had left out a crucial step: PLAN the wrapping.
It's funny – I do a great job wrapping presents. Guess it's good I don't wrap gifts with dough….
Anyway, into the oven it went, and while it baked and puffed, I peeled a couple of clementines and rolled slices of prosciutto and put them in a couple of bowls. I sliced up some sourdough bread and warmed it in the oven, wrapped in foil.
Okay, now it looks like…dove en croute. Or something.
It did not, however, taste like anything other than yummy, earthy brie and warm, toasty autumn flavors, and tender, crispy pastry.
I think I need to make this one again.
Because I did such a lousy job of wrapping this one, of course. Not because I just want to make this again. No, no. Not at all.
Purely for research.