Monday, December 17, 2007

Brie Toasts With Chardonnay-Soaked Golden Raisins ..... First, last or intermezzo?

Brie Toasts with Chardonnay-Soaked Raisins
Tradition, especially in Europe, calls for serving cheese after the meal. To serve as an appetizer, plate this to prevent dinner guest from over eating. People don't stop when it comes to cheese. Serve with a nice selection of olives. Pair with a chilled Chardonnay or other fruity white wine.
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup chardonnay
1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons sugar
1 vanilla bean, split in half vertically
1 cup golden raisins
24 slices any double cream Brie
24 slices baguette cut 1/4 inch thick
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
In a medium sized saucepan, combine the water, wine and sugar. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat until the sugar is dissolved. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat. Scrape the insides of the vanilla bean. Add raisins. Let seep uncovered for 1 hour at room temperature. Refrigerate overnight.
Drain raisins, reserving liquid. Discard vanilla bean. Put liquid back in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to 1/3 cup, or until syrup turns a deep golden, 10 to 15 minutes. Watch carefully so syrup does not burn. If it starts to foam remove from heat. At this point the syrup is probably at the point of finished. The syrup will continue to thicken as it cools.and have a texture similar to a light maple syrup. Cool completely.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brush butter on both sides of bread slices. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool completely. Put a slice of cheese on each toast. Sprinkle with a few raisins and drizzle syrup over the top. Makes 24 toasts.

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