Sunday, December 27, 2015

Jacques Pépin's Brie with Pistachio Crust

We finally started getting Jacques Pépin's cooking show Heart & Soul here on PBS a few weeks ago and I have been DVRing them (and of course I had to buy the companion cookbook Heart & Soul in the Kitchen on sale, with a coupon). On the first episode I got around to watching, Chef Pépin made simple and pretty Camembert with Pistachio Crust. I love an appetizer that tastes delicious and looks fancy--but is really low-effort to make and this one fits the bill with just four ingredients, plus whatever you serve it with.

My local grocery stores didn't happen to have Camembert rounds but the brie rounds were on sale and I think it makes an excellent substitute.

Jacques says, “I have always enjoyed a good Camembert, especially the raw-milk varieties from France. To make this version a bit more elegant, I moisten the cheese with honey, cover it with chopped pistachios, and serve it garnished with dried cranberries.

Camemebert with Pistachio Crust 
Adapted from Jacques Pépin
(Serves 4-6) 
1/2 cup pistachio nuts
1 Camembert cheese round (about 9oz) (I used an 8oz round of Brie)

1 tablespoon honey
1/2 cup dried cranberries

crackers, for serving

Process the nuts in a food processor until pulverized but not ground into a powder—small pieces of nuts should still be visible.

Unwrap the cheese. If you object to the crust, you can scrape it lightly; I leave it on. Brush the top and sides of the cheese with the honey. Sprinkle a layer of nuts on top of the Camembert and, holding the cheese round in one hand, pat more nuts around the sides with the other hand, pressing lightly on the nuts so they stick.

Put the remaining nuts in the center of a serving platter and place the cheese on top. Sprinkle the cranberries around the cheese and serve at room temperature, with crackers.

Notes/Results: The combination of the creamy cheese, with the toasted nuts, tangy cranberries and sweet honey is delicious. This is a quick and easy dish to put together although I had a challenge getting the ground nuts to stick well to the sides of the cheese wheel--not sure if my honey was too runny to coat thickly but I did try Pépin's "hold the honey-brushed brie on one hand and turn it while patting the nuts on" method. Oh well, I think it still looked pretty. I served it with cracked pepper table water crackers--I like the little bite they give. This makes a great replacement or addition to a cheese plate and you could use any combination of dried fruit and nuts. I will make it again.

This simple appetizer is linking up at I Heart Cooking Clubs. It's Potluck week, the chance to make any recipe from the current or past IHCC featured chefs. You can see what chefs and recipes everyone chose to cook from by checking out the picture links on the post.

Mele Kalikimaka,


  1. want to try this:) happy holidays!

  2. Such a lovely appetizer! Cheese, honey, pistachios and cranberries, sounds good!

  3. Oh Deb, you made me wanna buy a block of Camembert right now! :)

  4. Beautiful dish for the holiday. It has everything: the color, taste and the eye appeal. Loving it!

  5. that pistacchio crust looks amazing - what a great idea!


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