ground cherry and walnut baked brie
I do not like the circus. I find the whole thing terrifying. I don’t like the fact that it is a traveling spectacle, for one thing. I don’t know, something about that just feels unsettling. I did get the chance to sit on an elephant once, which would have been cool had it not taken me an hour to decide that I was just too scared, all the while being watched impatiently by other parents waiting for their kids (who apparently were not having issues with it) to sit on the elephant so they could leave. The whole thing just felt very…staged. Besides, that elephant looked sad.
Then there’s the walking on tightropes and flinging people through the air, willy-nilly. It just seems so reckless. Sure, it’s all very practiced and planned by extraordinarily talented acrobats and so forth, but as if children know that! What I remember is watching a helpless and underdressed 90 pound woman, happily swinging through the air without a care in the word, suddenly being thrown by a man clearly stronger than her, plunging to her certain death, only to be caught in the nick of time by another mysterious man who just so happened to be hanging out on a rope. And unlike her, these men were allowed to wear pants. Unfair. And terrifying!
Not to be forgotten are the rings of fire. Fire. There’s no time like being trapped in an enclosed tent amid crowds of people bigger than you for a fire! And don’t even get me started on clowns. Like I said, terrifying.
But, then, I do have to admit to a couple fond feelings. I might as well come out with them. There’s one of my favorite songs by French musician and composer Yann Tiersen, called Le Jour d’Avant. It is such a circus song. It’s all chaotic and unpredictable and twisty and creepy. I love it.
And of course, there is caramel corn. Oh the delicious combination of sweet, salty, and sometimes even nutty. I did love the circus for bringing me that.
Before leaving Montreal, a dear friend made us a batch of caramel popcorn loaded with almonds. I am fairly certain she intended it to last beyond the two days it actually lasted. But that’s not her fault. She made us plenty. I’m just a sucker for caramel corn.
‘What on earth could that have to do with baked brie?’, you might be wondering. Well you know how when brie is first baked it’s all warm and gooey and runny? You scoop it up with a cracker or apple slice or what have you, urgently guiding it to your mouth before it runs onto your fingers or outfit. Yum!
But then, it cools down. Firms up a bit. Becomes easier to cut. I find at this point in the baked brie’s evening it’s popularity decreases. It’s partakers dwindle, preferring to wait for what fresher items might come flying out of the kitchen while biding their time with the variety of dips available. I mean, who wants the last abandoned scraps of baked brie?
Answer: Me! Don’t get me wrong, I love the gooey start. But I also love the firmer finish. Easier to get into my mouth, for one thing. Less people fluttering around it, for another. Which I suppose, makes it also easier to get into my mouth. But the other thing is the flavor. I find after the ingredients have had time to get to know one another, they bond together and take on a whole new flavor profile. Well maybe not new, per say, but sharper. More confident. Yes, as the baked brie starts to lose it’s fans, it becomes emboldened with self-confidence.
Wouldn’t it be great to be baked brie?
And this recipe? After a supremely scrumptious and gooey start, once it’s had time to fully accept the other ingredients, can you guess what it tastes like?
Well wouldn’t ya know it, caramel corn. Darn delicious, caramel corn baked brie. Circus style.
1 round of brie
1/2 cup ground cherries, halved
1/2 cup roughly chopped walnuts
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tbs maple flakes
1/4 tsp chilli flakes
1/4 tsp sea salt flakes
Combine walnuts, brown sugar, chilli flakes and sea salt.
Heat oven to 190°C (375°F)
In a pan lined with parchment paper, place your brie and top with halved ground cherries. Cover with walnut mixture. Bake for 15 minutes. Switch to broil for a couple minutes to finish caramelizing the sugar.
Serve with sliced baguette.
It’s a circus in your mouth.