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Sunday, December 4, 2016

Chile Ancho and Honey-Baked Brie with Fresh Figs and Pumpkin Seeds

Chile Ancho and Honey-Baked Brie with Fresh Figs and Pumpkin Seeds
by Victoria Challancin

My apologies to all my readers who have emailed me after a long absence from my blog to ask if all is well.  All is well and I appreciate your concern.  I have simply been on a break from basically all but the basics on the internet.  Now I have returned!  But I do thank you.  It is always nice to know you are missed!

Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday, was simple this year.  Traditional, yet simple.  When I searched for something different to prepare as an appetizer for pre-dinner drinks for a mainly Mexican and a Swedish group of friends and family, I found a couple of recipes for a baked brie that particularly appealed.  I read several  of them and then combined them into something that worked for me (see here for the original recipe of the main recipe I used).  The results?  A fantastic appetizer that my son said he could just eat with a spoon and forget the rest of the meal.

I served this at a traditional American Thanksgiving dinner, but it would work beautifully at Christmas--or any time of year when fresh figs can be found!  Simple, fast, delicious--what more do we busy cooks need?

A cross-hatched brie set into a baking dish

For those of you who don't know dried chile ancho, you are in for a treat.  Ancho chiles are simply poblano chiles that have ripened and then dried.  They are a mild chile with a deep, rich flavor, which has hints of date and dried-tomato sweetness.  Personally, I consider this chile, in both its fresh and dried forms, to be a national treasure of Mexico!  Ground chile ancho powder is available in Mexican groceries, but failing that, simply toast a dried ancho chile and then grind it in a spice grinder.  Look for unbroken, pliable chiles of a deep red mahogany color.

The brie is covered with an ancho-chile infused honey, topped with fig halves, and sprinkled with fresh thyme leaves and black pepper
In the oven

Still in the oven after baking
The final dish
Recipe:  Chile Ancho and Honey-Baked Brie with Fresh Figs and Pumpkin Seeds
(Recipe by Victoria Challancin, inspired by this)

1 wheel of Brie (I used a 12-oz piece)
1/2 cup honey
1 tablespoons of ground chile ancho
6 to 8 fresh figs, cut in half
Several sprigs of thyme, leaves only
1/2 cup hulled pumpkin seeds
1 tablespoon butter
Salt and pepper to taste

Slightly score the brie in a crosshatch patter, without cutting too deeply (1/2 inch is sufficient--or less).  Place in a baking dish and set aside.

Heat the honey in a small saucepan.  Add the ground chile ancho, stirring to combine.

Pour the honey over the cheese, separating the scored areas with the tip of a blunt knife so that the honey can penetrate.

Scatter the fig halves over the cheese.  Sprinkle with thyme leaves and a few grinds of black pepper.

Top with aluminum foil, sealing the edges.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Remove foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a small skillet.  Add pumpkin seeds and cook until seeds begin to pop, about 2 to 3 minutes.

To serve, scatter the pumpkin seeds on top of the hot brie.  Serve with crostini or crackers of choice.

Note:  I had intended to take this out of the oven while the cheese still held its round shape.  Other parts of the dinner got in my way and I accidentally allowed it to completely melt.  I don't think anyone noticed!

Parting Shot:  Moroccan Horn Candlesticks

©Victoria Challancin.  All Rights Reserved.

Flavors of the Sun Cooking School
San Miguel de Allende, Mexico


60 years of Making Art said...

I look forward to trying this. It looks fantastic.

laura ann loveland said...

Another winner, amiga, but then I wouldn't expect any less from the queen of the cocina! Gracias.

Hotly Spiced said...

That looks amazing. I do love baked brie but I haven't had it in years. I love how you've paired it with the figs. Welcome back to blog-land and I hope you're refreshed after your break xx

Karen (Back Road Journal) said...

What a nice savory and sweet dish for holiday entertaining, actually anytime of the year.

Karen (Back Road Journal) said...

I wanted to stop back by to wish you a very Merry Christmas.

Lynne Daley said...

Lovely post-your brie looks fabulous! Happy New Year!

Tania | My Kitchen Stories said...

Hi there I hope you had a great break Victoria. I love ancho chilli. I was addicted to it for a while but have lost the skill of using it now I think. This would be delicious so thanks for showing me an interesting ways to use up my ancho powder.

Karen (Back Road Journal) said...

Hope you year is off to a good start, I'm looking forward to what you will be sharing with us.

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Beautiful dish Victoria! We are lucky enough to get figs now as it's fig season. I would love this :D