A lot of my happy nostalgic foods are straight from the earth. My grandparents have always had a garden filled with fresh veggies: sweet peas and their beautiful flowers, giant heirloom tomatoes, and peppery radishes with dirt still clinging to the roots. My parents have citrus, avocados, and even cherimoyas hanging from trees throughout the year. Biting into a fresh summer peach, still warm from the sun as it ripened on the tree, takes me back to running around in my parent's orchard where my brother and I used to throw oranges that had been knocked down by the Santa Ana winds at each other.
One fruit that I almost never eat nowadays is figs. They have a short season, don't ripen well off the tree, spoil relatively easy, and I work on the weekends which makes the local farmer's market off-limits. So when I visited my grandparent's house, it was a delight to have a bag full of ridiculously ripe figs to enjoy. My grandmother has a fig tree in her front yard for as long as I could remember, but as a kid I was wary of figs. They were weird, in my youthful opinion, too many contrasting textures and too honey-sweet. I liked sour plums and zesty kumquats; I was one of those weird kids that liked grapefruit with no brown sugar or broiling needed.
It's a funny thing, to take a bite of this dish and wax nostalgic about a fruit you didn't like as a kid.
One thing I can confidently say is that I have always liked brie, rind and all.
This is kind of a non-recipe, because it's just brie, nuts, honey, and figs. You don't need to measure anything, just pile the brie with figs and nuts, bake and top with honey.
Baked Brie with Figs
1 wheel of brie
6 fresh figs (or as many as you want)
2 tbs chopped pecans (don't bother measuring, please)
honey to drizzle (around a tablespoon) or sprinkle brown sugar
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the wheel of brie on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper for easier clean-up. Slice the figs into quarters lengthwise and arrange on top of the brie wheel. Sprinkle with brown sugar if using and chopped nuts. Place in the oven and cook for 10-15 minutes. Drizzle with honey and serve with crackers or bread.
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