Photo by Clay McLachlan
It’s the season of comfort food, and we are most certainly indulging. For our American readers, it is also time to plan the Thanksgiving menu – and we have the perfect appetizer for you.
In our November/December magazine, we feature plenty of delicious recipes that are ideal for the seasonal gatherings accompanying the final months of the year. One of this edition’s recipe collections presents five delicious dishes from the new comprehensive cookbook written by professional chefs and instructors at a French culinary school, The Complete Book of French Cooking.
Designed for use as a home cooking class, this essential guide to French cooking will help anyone brush up on culinary tips and technique. Then, readers can use their newly developed skills to compose the exquisite French recipes included in the book. In the magazine, we treat you to a taste of what this culinary bible has to offer, serving up a few options that are sure to “wow” your holiday guests.
For a little sample of what you can look forward to in the magazine and the book, try your hand at these decadent brie fritters served with a black cherry reduction spiced with anise, cinnamon, ginger, and vanilla bean. A sweet and savory surprise, this is a unique and fabulous way to present French cheese at your next dinner gathering.
For the Spiced Stewed Black Cherries
7 oz (200 g) black cherries
¾ cup (150 g) sugar
8 star anise
2 heaped tablespoons (10 g) cinnamon
1 vanilla bean, split lengthways
1 teaspoon (5 g) ground ginger
For the Frying Batter
2 cups (200 g) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon (5 g) salt
2 whole eggs plus 3 egg whites
1 ⅓ tablespoons (20 ml) sunflower seed oil
¾ cup (200 ml) milk or beer
2 lb 4 oz (1 kg) Brie cheese
Oil for frying
Prepare the spiced & stewed black cherries:
Remove the stems and pits of the black cherries. Place them in a pot with the sugar and spices and cover with water. Leave to stew gently until practically all the water has evaporated. Allow to cool.
Prepare the frying batter:
Sift the flour into a mixing bowl and add the salt. Break the whole eggs one by one, and whisk them into the dry ingredients. Incorporate the oil. Pour in the liquid (milk or beer) and whisk until the mixture is smooth. Stiffly beat the egg whites. Gently fold in the beaten egg whites using a flexible rubber spatula.
Cut the Brie into fairly large cubes, just under 1 inch (2 cm). Heat an oil bath to 325°F (160°C). Dip the Brie cubes in the batter, ensuring that they are evenly coated, and place in the oil bath. When they are lightly golden to brown all over, remove them from the oil with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel to drain. Serve immediately with the spicy stewed black cherries.