Brillat Savarin Cheese with Walnut Praline and Polenta Crackers
“Dessert without cheese is like a beauty with only one eye” Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin”
And just like that here is dessert and cheese in one go.
This cheese was first produced and named in honour of the famous “gastronome” and cheese lover Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin and it’s on my short-list of cheeses you must try. A thin bloomy rind contains the creamy lactic twist of this totally addictive and almost whipped creamy white cheese, made from pasteurized cows milk all year round in Normandy, France
I often turn up with this cheese because it is a great size at 500 gm ( although they do come in both larger and smaller) and will always make everyone happy. Unfortunately most cheeses of this size and appearance are mistaken for Brie or Camembert in Australia and I thought you might like to know the differences between these cheeses, before I tell you how you can make crunchy little polenta crackers and salted walnut praline to go with pretty much any creamy cheese.
So, just like wine, chocolate or coffee, cheese depends on variables such as origin, country, climate and seasons. Milk varies between each season and so the sweet grass buds and flowers of the spring move on to the stronger more sun resistant grasses of the summer, flavouring the milk. Some cheeses are best made in spring and others like this Brillat can be made all year round due to the blending of milk and cream.
To cut a long story short and to not get into a minefield of information, a Brie (traditionally made in Brie, northern France) is a white mould cheese just the same as a Brillat Savarin and a Camembert ( Normandy). Their differences lie in the milk used to make them and the region they are made totally dictates their taste. Both Brie and Camembert are made in moulds that are not as deep as a Brillat Savarin. Bries’ and Camemberts’ are usually about 45% butter fat and a Brillat Savarin is about 72-75%. Cream is added to the milk before moulding. This and the deep mould and the differences in salt and milk flavour ( regional) is what makes this cheese taste so completely different to Brie.
Just one last thing, some Bries can also have extra cream added, making them triple cream Bries, though much creamier than a 45% fat content Brie, they still have a thick shiny yellow pate that should be quite runny as it ripens.
So dessert anyone?. Strictly speaking you could of course have this before lunch or dinner. The salty walnut praline makes this a bit of a special idea for a dessert
- 200 gm of Brillat Savarin or other cheese.
- 100 gm caster sugar (1/2 cup)
- 20 ml water (1 Tablespoon)
- 2 drops of lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 50 gm roasted walnuts ( or hazelnuts)
- 25gm very fine polenta ( I used white)
- 120ml ( ½ cup) hot water
- 40 ml olive oil (2 Tablespoon)
- 5 ml honey (1 teaspoon)
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 300 gm plain flour ( 2 cups)
- Have all the ingredients prepared and close. A lined flat tray and the toasted nuts
- Toss the salt with the nuts
- Put the sugar and the 1 Tablespoon of water and the drops of lemon into a heavy bottomed pot on a medium heat.Swirl the pot a couple of times to spread the water and saturate the sugar without stirring. Once the sugar starts to heat swirl again. If the sugar colours on the edges just swirl gently. This syrup will start to boil and will start to quickly colour. Let it colour to a deep golden before adding the nuts. The deeper the colour the better ( be careful black doesn't taste good. Don't forget it will keep cooking when taken off the heat
- Pour straight onto a tray. and tip to spread . DO NOT TOUCH THE CARAMEL.
- Set the oven to 180/350 for
- Put the polenta and hot water into a small bowl and stand for a couple of minutes.
- Add the oil and salt and stir. Pour this ad the flour and BP into the food processor and blitz. it will not come together until tipped onto the bench. push together with your hands, wrap in plastic and sit for 20-30 minutes.
- Use a rolling pin to roll out small pinches of dough . Roll as fine as you possibly can on a bench . You wont need flour.
- lay each wafer thin piece onto a lined baking sheet
- Bake 12-14 minutes or until golden. Cool
Want to buy a Brillat Savarin?. Any good cheese shop can order you one in. Or try Formaggi Occello Darlinghurst .