I’ve always wanted to make jam. I could probably count the number of times I’ve eaten jam in my home on one hand, but that’s beside the point. Just the idea of standing over the stove, watching it transform and preserving it in mason jars sounds very rustic and comforting to me. And you know how much I love that Frontier lifestyle.
This weekend, I made something that was quite similar to jam, but according to my very extensive Wikipedia research, there is a fine line between jams, preserves, chutneys and confit—a line which I was only truly interested in defining for the purpose of giving this dish a title. Then, I was thinking if you do recreate this at home, you will hopefully spend more time eating it then actually referring to it by its proper name. (But what if you e-mail or text a friend that night about what you’re serving and you can’t even explain it to them because I haven’t given you something to call it?!)
The pressure was all on me. I created the recipe and therefore, I was responsible for its identity. I suppose I could just as well call it ‘baked brie with raspberry sauce’ or ‘baked brie with raspberry reduction’ and I’m not sure anyone would truly lose sleep over it. But for the purpose of this post, I’m calling it chutney because it best fits the description, and is much more enticing then ‘baked brie with raspberries, sugar, balsamic and cinnamon cooked down in a saucepan.’ Agreed? Good!
I came up with this appetizer for my friend Nicole’s apartment warming party, and it was gone before I turned around. Nothing compliments a beautiful one bedroom in the city like a good wheel of cheese. Brie is one of my favorites for entertaining (like my baked brie with cranberry chutney!) because it doesn’t require much fuss. It’s a pretty presentation when left whole, saving you time from slicing, and it’s a fun focal point for your guests to sit around and interact with.
Fruit and cheese is pretty much a no-brainer, and because that evening’s menu was full of savory dishes, I felt this was a nice way to balance out the selection. The chutney adds another dimension of flavor as the tart and sweet raspberries glide into the warm, creamy brie cheese and melt right in your mouth.
The best part? You can prep this ahead of time! Cook the raspberry topping in the morning and slather it on your brie. Place the cheese in a covered baking dish and store in your fridge until close to party time. 15 minutes before your company arrives, pop it in the oven and it will be ready when you are!
1 (16 oz.) wheel of brie
Half pint raspberries
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar (*NOTE: Use Pure Mountain Olive Oil’s Chocolate Balsamic Vinegar for an out-of-this-world result!)
1/8 cup sugar
Dash of cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350. Place brie on a baking dish and cut a small “X” in the top center of the rind so the fruit will seep through.
Add raspberries, balsamic, sugar and cinnamon to a small saucepan.
Cook over low-medium heat, stirring constantly, until vinegar dissolves and mixture thickens.
Spread mixture on top of brie, cover with foil and bake for about 15 minutes. The cheese will be soft and warm.
Serve immediately with crackers or fresh slices of French bread.
Eat and enjoy with good friends!