“I don’t have anything to eat, but I’m sure we can scrounge something up,” I began, giving my friends an apologetic smile as we hopped on the metro.
Now, if you’re friends with a food blogger, you know that’s probably a lie. If you’re friends with me, you can bet it’s a lie – a lie learned on my grandmother’s knee and honed over years of hosting, entertaining and making up meals from scratch. What may not be a lie is the fact I have no fresh vegetables, or no bread, and none of the traditional fixings one needs for entertaining – chips, salsa, charcuterie meats. But as long as you have a freezer, a pantry and several cans of pickles, you can always count on being able to put together a quick entertaining dish like this baked brie with peaches, pecans, herbs and honey.
In fact, this dish came about from just such an entertaining emergency. Danielle was on her way over to my place after a long day of studying, and I thought the occasion called for more than just a couple of shrivelled logs of goat cheese and stale crackers. So I threw together a simple salad of greens, pickles and pumpkin seeds (as I said, you are never too far from dinner if you have some pickles in your fridge), and I rummaged around my freezer and pantry to make a more interesting main.
Now, full disclosure: I usually have a round of brie cheese in the freezer. I know, I know, this is weird. But sometimes, brie cheese goes on sale and you just don’t want to eat it all at once, and then you assume that some day, guests may come and you’ll have nothing to serve them, and the store will just be out of brie cheese, and… Whatever, I grew up in a Soviet household, give me a break.
So anyway, I took out a log of brie cheese from
the especially-crafted cheese drawer in my fridge my freezer, and placed it gingerly at the bottom of a ceramic dish (you don’t need a special brie-baking dish to bake brie; nearly any ceramic dish you like will do!). I then rummaged around my pantry, and fished out a can of California cling peaches, which are my guilty pleasure on top of yogurt but also serve as a great saviour at emergencies just like this one (or if you need to kill an intruder, cuz the can is heavy. Just sayin’ – a girl living alone has gotta plan!). During winter, when fruit is expensive and has to be trucked all the way from Mexico, I much prefer the safety and comfort of a good can of peaches to bruised and battered fresh fuit. Because California cling peaches are grown and canned in the United States, on family farms that adhere to the highest agricultural and safety standards, I can count on the freshest, most nutrient-packed peaches making it to my table at any given time.
A few chopped pecans, a drizzle of honey and a sprinkle of whatever fresh herbs you have on hand (thyme and basil both met with rave reviews, but I can see tarragon and sage also working very well), and you’ve got baked brie with peaches, pecans, herbs and honey – otherwise known as your perfect entertaining dish – prepped in under 5 minutes. Another 15-20 in the oven, with the smells of creamy melting baked brie with peaches wafting all over the place and making your guests salivate, and you’re good to go. When cooked, canned peaches maintain their shape and firmness better than fresh peaches, so while your brie is getting good and melty the peaches break down only slightly into a beautiful, quickly made jam with a contrasting texture. The pecans provide additional crunch and contrast.
All together, this is a dish that will make your guests really distrust you the next time you say you don’t have anything in the fridge… But that’s a risk you take every time you make something from this blog.
Full disclosure: I received monetary compensation in exchange for this post. However, I am proud to only work with those companies and brands whose products I truly love. And as always, all opinions expressed here are my own; you can always expect me to be honest with you guys!
- 1 wheel of brie
- 1 can California cling peaches, chopped into cubes
- ¼ cup pecans, crushed
- 5 fresh thyme/ tarragon branches, basil leaves, or 3 sage leaves, sliced finely
- Ceramic dish for baking in the oven
- Baguette or crackers of your choice, for serving
- Preheat oven to 325F.
- Unwrap brie and place it in an oven-safe ceramic dish. Top with cubed California cling peaches and pecans. Sprinkle with chopped fresh herbs. Drizzle with honey as desired.
- Bake in a 325F oven for 15-20 minutes, until brie has melted and topping has browned a bit on top. Serve immediately with baguette slices or the crackers of your choice.