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Camembert with Hazelnuts and Apricot Compote

November 23, 2009

(photo via The Cheesemaker)

We all know cheese is delicious all on its own, but since cheese has such an extensive range of flavors, cheese condiments may help reveal the unique qualities in each selection. Similar to wine pairings, there are characteristics within each cheese that are enhanced by the right marriage of flavors.

When you are designing a cheese plate, you want to create a balance of flavors, aromas, and textures. Since there are so many types of cheese, try to pick a few contrasting styles such as hard and soft; goat, sheep or cow’s milk; or perhaps blue or smoked.  When matching a cheese with a condiment, you may choose to highlight the saltiness of a cheese by supplying a contrasting sweet flavor such as honey. Or, perhaps a cheese is rather earthy and pungent, in which case roasted vegetables or sun-dried tomatoes will make a nice pairing. Try not to be fearful of making a mistake. Even if you don’t like one of the cheese pairings, someone else at the party will most certainly find the pairing to be a great one!

Camembert with Hazelnuts and Apricot Compote

*serves 8*

Ingredients

  • 12 (2 x 2-inch) pieces Camembert cheese, rind trimmed
  • 2 cups hazelnuts, toasted, skinned and chopped
  • For the Apricot Compote:
  • 4 cups dried apricots, cut into 1/4-inch strips
  • 3 cups Gewurztraminer wine
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 vanilla beans, split and scraped

Preparation

  1. For the cheese, coat the cheese squares evenly with the chopped hazelnuts. Reserve at room temperature, covered, until the cheese softens.
  2. For the compote, combine all compote ingredients. Simmer until the apricots are soft and the compote is thickened, about 20 minutes.
  3. To serve, place a piece of Camembert cheese on each of 12 small plates. Top the cheese with a heaping spoonful of compote.

For more recipes, check out this weeks Sarita’s Sensations on the Latino Nutrition Coalition website

Recipe adapted from Chef Todd Downs and Wisconsin Cheese

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