Everytime I see Brie cheese, my mind automatically travels to Berlin and my first ever attempt at baking the whole wheel. I wasn’t big on baking back then, but after an eventful day of sightseeing, we just wanted something simple to pair with a bottle of Berliner Kindl.
If you have never been to Berlin, I highly suggest you never ever go in March. The weather was unimaginably foul: piercing cold wind and a mushy mix of snow and rain. Even the views of the Berlin Wall were hard to enjoy for a hardcore graffiti enthusiast like myself. However, it so happened that, after a week of wandering around this moody ghost town, our trip was unexpectedly prolonged. FYI, ‘unexpectedly prolonged’ is a sophisticated way of saying ‘we missed our flight’. But in these extra days, we understood something: the first seven days were just a test for tourists. To see if you are deserving enough to see Berlin in all its glory. We passed it with flying colors and the reward was beautiful weather and the best memories of my entire life.
But long before that happened, we needed something that didn’t require a lot of time and effort, would warm us up – body and soul – and lift our spirits. Because, frankly, we were becoming discouraged. As you can imagine, taking the wrong train and prolonging our road back home by 40 minutes didn’t help either. ‘It’s okay,’ – we kept telling ourselves, – ‘let’s just get some food and hope tomorrow’s a better day”.
One wonderful thing about Berlin, though, was how cheap food and drinks were. At least, compared to Paris, where you may have to sell a kidney to pay for a crappy omelette. But this was a different story: here we could really treat ourselves, without worrying too much about the budget. So we went from aisle to aisle just picking up whatever we thought looked good. Which is how that wheel of Brie ended up in our bag… Without anyone even thinking about what we were going to do with it.
But when we actually got home and went through all that newly-acquired treasure, the idea of an entire wheel of melted cheese was too good to just leave for another day. If anything was going to make this day better, it sure was cheesy lava pouring out through the cut rind!
Long story short: the memory of that evening with my friends and I gathered around our tiny kitchen table, sharing a couple of beers and laughs is easily one of my most treasured ones. And what made that memory even warmer (literally and figuratively) was our first ever baked Brie, proudly oozing out all over the table. Ever since then, I catch myself occasionally getting a small wheel or two for later… Whenever I may need a reminder of how the simplest of things can make one so happy.
Baked Brie with Sun-dried Tomatoes
- 1 wheel Brie cheese
- 1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes drained
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 sprig thyme
- Preheat your oven to 350 F.
- With a sharp knife, cut the top of the wheel of Brie in a diamond pattern.
- Line a baking dish or an oven-safe skillet with parchment paper and place brie on top of it.
- Cut your garlic into thin slices and insert them into the cuts.
- With a table spoon, generously spread sun-dried tomatoes on top of the cheese. Sprinkle everything with thyme.
- Transfer your masterpiece into an oven and bake for 15 minutes, or until the middle is very soft.
- Serve immediately with crackers, nuts or anything else you like.