After discovering a grilled brie recipe last week (already mentioned a couple of times), I decided to use it to compare a couple of different bries in the awkward arena known as The Cheese Corral.
For installment two, it will thus be a straight contest between two Cornish Country Larder cheeses:
Cornish Organic Brie vs St. Endellion.
(Cornish Organic on the left, St. Endellion on the right)
First though, a quick note on the glaze used. The recipe called for a mixture of brandy, nuts and sugar and here was the end result before refrigeration.
As you can probably see, I was a little too enthusiastic with the cognac so despite the mixture drying out somewhat overnight I still added a few extra teaspoons of dark brown sugar at the last minute.
Wanting to follow the recipe instructions fully I also softened the cheese before applying the glaze so that this is what everything looked like before the final round.
Both bries felt smooth and creamy in the mouth but were backed by a slight, reassuring firmness. The St. Endellion was more dense though, which is probably due to not only the inclusion of double cream but also the fact that it is smaller when whole.
The Endellion also had a slightly stronger taste that lasted longer, with the developing taste of one bite mixing with the fresh flavours of the next. When directly compared, the Cornish Organic Brie was bland. The flavour soon diminished and all that was left was the texture.
Head-to-Head: Grilled with a Toffee Nut Glaze
Although each cheese was in the oven for an identical amount of time, the St. Endellion melted far more easily than its organic opposition. This was also apparent in the final tastes as surprisingly, though denser when raw, the Endellion had a lighter, mousse-like quality compared to the more cheesecake-esque texture of the organic brie. Added to both sensations were the rinds that, not being melted, added a different texture to the experience.
Despite ultimately being softer though the flavour of the double cream brie was still more noticeable just as it was before the grilling process started. In both cases however, the brandy, sugar and nuts, when present near tastebuds, were far more overwhelming than the cheese flavours.
As for the glaze itself, the taste was good albeit a little gritty. The sugar needed to have melted more so that there should have been little or no initial softening of the cheese before the topping was added. I suspect that light brown sugar, rather than dark, might have also improved the flavour.
I will definitely make this dish again because despite not being the best dessert it is extremely simple and with some adjustments would be much better. There is the capacity to have many variations, not only in the glaze (more/less of any liquer,
different nuts, addition of syrup or treacle for added smoothness) but also the extent to which the cheese is melted.
A different accompaniment would also help, preferably something light or fruity. As you may have noticed the recipe calls for apple wedges dressed in lemon juice. The crisp textures and tart flavours of these ingredients provided an interesting counterpoint to the smooth taste of the cheese and the freshness also helped lift the heavy dessert but I would have preferred a little cream instead.
On balance I probably preferred the texture of the Cornish Organic Brie when grilled and the potent alcohol laced glaze nullified any differences in taste. I do very much prefer the raw taste of the St. Endellion brie though and with different timings the grilled textures could be made to be similar.
Thus, once again, it is another close call here at the corral. However, were I to ask which cheese I would prefer to inhabit my kitchen there could only be one winner: St. Endellion.