When I first moved to the US from Iran in 2015, I entered a world of new and exotic cheeses. Coming from the Middle East, I knew all about Feta, labneh, and halloumi, but words like Camembert and Roquefort had no meaning. The diversity of the cheeses available in America amazed me from the day I arrived—and it still does.
One of the greatest things about immigrating was the newfound ability to experience so many types of cheese and, of course, endless opportunities to cook with them. Every now and then, I’d purchase a cheese I’d never heard of, then try it with different ingredients and pairings to learn more about its flavor. I remember the first time I had Brie: It was rich, tangy, and incredibly soft. There was this creamy goodness matured in a delicate yet strong rind. It was like nothing I had before.
Naturally, I started playing with my native ingredients: figs, pistachios, and honey. These flavors speak to my roots and, coupled with Brie, make for a delectable combination. The pistachios give a Middle Eastern flair, the fresh figs bring the Mediterranean to mind, and the honey wraps up this flavor feast into an irresistibly sweet and savory concoction.
This baked Brie tells story of my life: an otherworldly experience flavored with Persian traits and features, a perfect combination of two beloved worlds that I live in. All these ingredients are simple and delicious on their own, but once combined and plated, they create something delicious and unique. Whether I share this baked Brie with Persian or American friends, it always offers flavors from home that can feel familiar to everyone.
- 1 small wheel of Brie
- 1 teaspoon of olive oil
- 7 dried mission figs
- ¾ cup pistachios, shelled
- 4 tablespoons honey
- Preheat the oven to 350℉.
- Cut 3 of the dried mission figs into halves.
- Brush a small cast iron skillet with one teaspoon of olive oil, and place the Brie in the skillet.
- Top Brie with pistachios and dried mission figs.
- Drizzle honey on the Brie and bake in the oven for about 25 minutes.
- Serve immediately with crackers and add more honey, if desired.