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Decadent Baked Vacherin Cheese

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Uber decadent personal baked Vacherin Mont d'Or, gorgeous creaminess topped with toasted walnuts, dried fruits soaked in sweet wine and apples sautéed in butter and honey.

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Loyal readers of FXcuisine might remember that I ventured once into gourmet Baked Mont d'Or Vacherin with little success. LINK. Well, at the request of a Japanese TV crew in search of novel Swiss cheese recipes, I developped a much more convincing recipe using sweet ingredients to complement the Vacherin's natural creaminess.

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Vacherin Mont d'Or is the most famous of the Sanglé cheese family, those soft, often runny cheeses wrapped in a piece of fresh spruce wood. Mont d'Or adds a bottom and a cover that makes it a little box like a Camembert.

When baking it, people in my parts usually just pierce it with a nice, drizzle with some local white wine and put in a rather hot oven until the core is melting. Then they eat it with bread or potatoes. That does little to improve on the cheese itself, but it is so good that it makes for very high quality, fast confort food.

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But can you not improve on this I asked myself. Let's see what Francois cooked up and you will judge for yourself.

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First order of business is to add crunchiness to this dish - walnuts, toasted to increase their taste. You need to watch walnuts with the same care as milk as they will burn in no time. Try something like 190C and 10 minutes and do not leave the oven. Walnuts might take 9 minutes to go from normal to pale brown, and 1 minute from there to burnt! This is due to the darker color absorbing infrared heat much faster. You can try to dress in black in the summer and see how long you last before you feel like a dry walnut.

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Before and after toasting - the difference in taste is incomparable.

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I soak dried cherries and cranberries in a glass of a most excellent Swiss sweet wine, from almost dried grapes harvested from the Bishop's own vineyards on the hill of Tourbillon in march. Sweetness goes amazingly well with cheese and in the winter time we need conforting food rich in all things that make life beautiful.

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Peel an apple, dice it and put in a pan with as much butter as your conscience allows.

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Increase the heat to melt the butter and start sautéeing the apples gently...

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... then add a tablespoon of honey and toss so that the apples are coated in butter and honey. Do not cook too much, some crunchiness is desirable here.

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