Cold Beer, Warm Brie, and Prickly Pears

There are times I wish I had never tried Brie- because it is so good, and it’s not cheap.
It was just a few years ago that my son brought some to one of our Iron Chef events- “Cheese!” was the not-so-secret ingredient.
I forget what dish he used it in, because he also featured Gruyere; but I do remember it was wonderful.

prickly pears

cactus fruit

Then it got worse.
Just last summer Mandolin and I stopped at a local German Restaurant for lunch- they had Warm Brie with Fresh Fruit on the menu.

how to peel a prickly pear

peel it like an orange

Now in case that’s not bad enough, over Easter we had dinner at my son and daughter-in-law’s house.
They served Warm, Herbed, Smoked- and get this HOMEMADE Brie.

Actually, it worked out well- because I knew that this was so so so good, there would be no reason for me to ever eat Brie anywhere else again.
Problem solved.

prickly pear cooking

healthy and colorful

Fast forward two weeks.
Mandolin and I are playing in the nearby organic and exotic produce section of a local food store.

“What are those things you’re buying?” he asks.
“Prickly Pears.”
“I see that, but what are they?”
“I forget. But I know they’re not pears.”
“What are you going to do with them?”
“Not a clue.”

They sat for a bit, and since I didn’t want them to go to waste- I began looking on the internet.
Oh, yeah that’s right- they’re cactus flowers. Cool. I knew they weren’t Pears.
Perusing some more I found the juice is often used to make candy or jelly, or to serve with fresh fruit.
Mmmm…fresh fruit…and warm brie…

prickly pears and patience

beauty drop by drop

So I made a reduction by peeling the fruit, cutting into thin slices, and simmering it with some orange and lemon juice, and a little ground coriander.
Wow did the house smell wonderful!
Yesterday I also purchased some locally made Brie from a nearby Creamery- not quite what my kids made, but wonderful.
The flavor of the reduction is intense, so I only drizzled a little over the cheese- which was warmed slightly and melting.
I should mention that if you are not using something sweet with it, like the fruit, you may want to add some sugar to counter the ‘tang’ that it has.

prickly pear reduction on warm brie

fit for a queen- or a gardener

Mmmmm…. I’m thinking perhaps I will freeze what reduction is left, and should children come by bearing Brie- I’ll be ready. :-)
And yes- this IS a hint.

Oh no! I just found out they can be grown in Zones 3-9. Heaven help me!
How to grow Prickly Pear Cactus
And more:
The Cheese Making Kit
Calkins Creamery- Local Cheese
How to cut and prepare Prickly Pears
Health Benefits of Prickly Pears

April 17, 2012  Tags: , , , ,   Posted in: Recipes

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