What’s that I hear, off in the distance? Could it be the sound of winter boots storming down the driveway? The staccato knock of knuckles against the front door? The unmistakable chime of the doorbell, ringing out as clear as day: YOUR GUESTS HAVE ARRIVED!?
Ah yes, it sounds like the holidays are here again! Trickling in slowly, gathering in greater numbers with every passing minute, the kitchen swells with sounds of merriment, laughter and banter ricocheting off the walls. Cue the music, crank the oven, and break out the appetizers; it’s time to dazzle with more than sparkling tinsel lining the hallways.
Play your cards right, and one spectacular starter will set the whole party in motion. The pros know that it’s only possible by keeping it simple, prepping ahead, and using the best ingredients. That’s why I’m dropping this show-stopping wheel of homemade vegan brie, supple and soft, crowned with the bold combination of tart raspberries and balsamic vinegar. If that doesn’t kick off the festivities with applause, at least, perhaps you’ve invited the wrong audience.
Buttery, creamy, melting at room temperature, this brie isn’t a dead-ringer for its dairy counterpoint, but it doesn’t need to imitate exactly when it can exceed that experience. Reaching into my pantry for an easy accompaniment, bottles of Alessi White Balsamic Raspberry Blush Vinegar and Alessi Raspberry Infused White Balsamic Reduction inspired this unconventional, yet compelling combination. Melding that tangy, fresh flavor with sweet whole berries in a lightly simmered compote created a heady aroma that no one could resist.
I can count on Alessi ingredients to raise the bar on everyday staples, no matter the recipe or occasion. Family owned and operated for 72 years, these essentials have stood the test of time. They’ve been stocking grocery store shelves across the country for as long as I can remember, that’s for sure. Going straight to the source reaps the greatest rewards, though, since orders over $20 ship free and no where else can you find such a wide section of authentic Italian specialties. As if that wasn’t enough, if you shop directly through Alessi.com and enter the code HANNAHK at checkout, you’ll get 15% off your order! This code is good for 1 use per customer, until December 31.
Both the cheese and chutney can be made up to a full week in advance, so there’s no need to stress on the big day. Just take off the chill as conversations warm and spirits flow. The savory wedges will melt in your mouth, and any extraneous worries will melt away. Now that’s what makes a happy holiday.
- 1/2 Cup Raw Cashews, Soaked for 6 Hours
- 1/2 Cup Alessi Pignoli Pine Nuts, Soaked for 6 Hours
- 1/2 Cup Refined (Flavorless) Coconut Oil
- 1/2 Cup Unsweetened Plain Vegan Yogurt
- 1 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon White Miso Paste
- 1 Tablespoon Nutritional Yeast
- 3/4 Teaspoon Alessi Kosher Salt
- 1/2 Teaspoon Onion Powder
- 2 Tablespoons Tapioca Starch (Optional)
- 6 Ounces (About 1 Cup) Fresh Raspberries
- 2 Tablespoons Maple Syrup
- 2 Tablespoons Alessi White Balsamic Raspberry Blush Vinegar
- 1 Sprig Fesh Rosemary
- 1/2 Teaspoon Alessi Kosher Salt
- 1/4 Teaspoon Ground Alessi Black Peppercorns
- Fresh Raspberries
- Alessi Raspberry Infused White Balsamic Reduction
- Alessi Pignoli Pine Nuts
- To prepare the brie, begin by thoroughly draining the cashews and pine nuts before placing them in a high-speed blender. Add the coconut oil, yogurt, vinegar, miso, nutritional yeast, salt, and onion powder. Begin blending on low until the mixture is rough but all the ingredients have been incorporated. Pause to scrape down the sides of the canister with your spatula, to make sure nothing is sticking to the walls. Gradually increase the speed until its at the highest setting, and puree for a solid 6 - 8 minutes, until completely silky smooth.
- Meanwhile, line the interior of a rounded, 2-cup container with plastic wrap and lightly grease.
- Transfer the blended cheese mixture to the prepared container and tap gently on the counter to release the air bubbles and smooth out the surface. Stash in the freezer for 1 1/2 - 2 hours, until fully set.
- For the chutney, combine the raspberries, maple syrup, vinegar, rosemary, salt, and pepper in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until the berries start to collapse and become jammy; about 8 - 10 minutes. Once slightly thickened, turn off the heat and remove the spent rosemary. Cool the sauce to room temperature before serving.
- Remove the solidified wheel of brie and coat with tapioca starch to give it the appearance of a bloomed rind. Set it on a serving plate and let come to room temperature. It becomes very soft and hard to manuever at that point, so make sure you get it situated first!
- Just prior to serving, top the brie with chutney, additional fresh raspberries, pine nuts, and a fine drizzle if the balsamic reduction. Pair with crackers or bread to really get the party started!
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 153 Total Fat: 13g Saturated Fat: 1g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 11g Cholesterol: 1mg Sodium: 217mg Carbohydrates: 7g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 4g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 3g