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Cheese “Cake” with Dried Fruit Compote

Holiday 2017
F201706088.jpg
food and drink

BY: Christopher St. Onge

The very simple apricot, raisin and almond compote here belies its dramatic end as decoration to a beautiful cheese wheel. While Manchego does come in smaller wheels that would be perfect here, those can be harder to find. Your best bet is the widely available 3.4-kg wheels cut horizontally into your desired weight, rather than into wedges as is the norm. If you’re purchasing dried apricots in bulk, pick out the smallest ones.

DRIED FRUIT COMPOTE
½ cup (125 mL) either Lillet Blanc, late-harvest
Riesling or pear or apricot nectar
¼ cup (60 mL) sugar
¼ cup (60 mL) water
1 tbsp (15 mL) apple cider vinegar
1½ cups (375 mL) small dried apricots
½ cup (125 mL) raisins
⅓ cup (80 mL) slivered almonds
Circular (if possible) piece Manchego cheese, 3 lbs (1.5 kg)
Assortment of fresh herbs and greens to garnish, such as thyme, eucalyptus and cedar
Thinly toasted baguette slices
Assortment of sturdy crackers

1. In a medium pot over medium heat, combine Lillet, sugar, water and apple cider vinegar; stir to dissolve sugar. Add dried apricots and raisins and bring to a boil. Reduce to low; cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until a scant amount of thickened syrup remains, checking frequently in the last 5 minutes to avoid burning.

2. Meanwhile, toast almonds in a 375°F (190°C) oven until lightly golden, 5 to 6 minutes. Stir almonds into hot compote and let stand, covered, until cooled to room temperature. (Compote may be made up to 3 days in advance, covered and refrigerated until serving day. Return to room temperature to serve.)

3. Arrange cheese on a cake stand or pedestal and top decoratively with compote. Garnish with herbs and greens and serve alongside baguette and crackers.

Serves 12

F201706088.jpg
food and drink

Cheese “Cake” with Dried Fruit Compote

Holiday 2017

BY: Christopher St. Onge

The very simple apricot, raisin and almond compote here belies its dramatic end as decoration to a beautiful cheese wheel. While Manchego does come in smaller wheels that would be perfect here, those can be harder to find. Your best bet is the widely available 3.4-kg wheels cut horizontally into your desired weight, rather than into wedges as is the norm. If you’re purchasing dried apricots in bulk, pick out the smallest ones.

DRIED FRUIT COMPOTE
½ cup (125 mL) either Lillet Blanc, late-harvest
Riesling or pear or apricot nectar
¼ cup (60 mL) sugar
¼ cup (60 mL) water
1 tbsp (15 mL) apple cider vinegar
1½ cups (375 mL) small dried apricots
½ cup (125 mL) raisins
⅓ cup (80 mL) slivered almonds
Circular (if possible) piece Manchego cheese, 3 lbs (1.5 kg)
Assortment of fresh herbs and greens to garnish, such as thyme, eucalyptus and cedar
Thinly toasted baguette slices
Assortment of sturdy crackers

1. In a medium pot over medium heat, combine Lillet, sugar, water and apple cider vinegar; stir to dissolve sugar. Add dried apricots and raisins and bring to a boil. Reduce to low; cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until a scant amount of thickened syrup remains, checking frequently in the last 5 minutes to avoid burning.

2. Meanwhile, toast almonds in a 375°F (190°C) oven until lightly golden, 5 to 6 minutes. Stir almonds into hot compote and let stand, covered, until cooled to room temperature. (Compote may be made up to 3 days in advance, covered and refrigerated until serving day. Return to room temperature to serve.)

3. Arrange cheese on a cake stand or pedestal and top decoratively with compote. Garnish with herbs and greens and serve alongside baguette and crackers.

Serves 12

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