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Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Flambed Grand Marnier pears over baked brie

Baked brie has a certain 1970s ski lodge kind of charm to it.  It makes me think of shag carpet, fondue, Hall & Oates and other awesome '70s throwbacks.  I wasn't actually alive in the 70s, so this is a fake nostalgia, conjured from old photos of my parents, Hunter S. Thompson articles and Charlie's Angels reruns but it's powerful stuff none the less.

When I was in university in the late 90s and early 2000s baked brie made a comeback in a big way, being featured prominently at every house party along with Asiago Artichoke dip (the two were like the Starsky and Hutch of party favours).   While I understood the dish's timeless charm, I was always felt that it could use something to liven it up, to really make it shine like the '70s rock start that it is, something like ... FIRE!

It's important to remember that you really are playing with fire in this recipe so you should have a fire extinguisher close at hand (actually always a good idea in a kitchen).

1 pear
1 heaping tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp butter
1 oz Grand Marnier
1 small wheel of brie

Put the brie in a ramekin or brie baker or oven safe frying pan that's just larger than the wheel itself and set aside.

Peel the pear and cut it into thin slices discarding the core.  In a frying pan just large enough to hold the pears melt the butter over low hear and layer in the pears.  Cook until the pears become soft, add in the brown sugar, turn the heat up to medium and stir until the sugar has all dissolved.

Light a match or a BBQ lighter and have it at the ready.  To avoid unwanted heart attacks and volunteer fire efforts, warn everyone that there's going to be some flames and get them to stand back.  Pour in the Grand Marnier and light.  The flames should subside after ~10 seconds at which point pour the pears and delicious sauce over the top of the brie and place in a 300F oven for 5-10 minutes (just long enough to melt the brie but not turn it liquid).

Serve with slices of baguette or crackers and glasses of port.

I don't know the scientific explanation but fire made it good!
- Homer Simpson

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