Honey-Drizzled Raspberry Brie Brûlée

The first time I met our elderly neighbour, Oskar, he was leaning on his shovel on the edge of his sprawling corner plot of land.

I can’t remember who nodded hello first, but we hit it off at once in a discussion about his garden. It was a beautiful, well-maintained plot, surrounded by a low rock wall, which my three children scrambled up in mere moments. He didn’t bat an eye at their antics, as they skipped up and down the ledge, probably because his children used to do the very same thing.

Over the years, and many visits across the rock wall, I came to learn that Oskar was a true homesteader. His wife had passed away shortly after delivering his sixth child, and Oskar raised the family himself. He had an impressive garden – the raspberry patch itself could supply his large family with berries galore. But alas, they had all grown up and moved away, save for one.

Aimee and Clara picking raspberries Photo by Tim Chin

In his thick Eastern European accent, Oskar (not his real name)  invited us to come pick berries anytime, as well as offered up any rhubarb we wanted. We were frequent visitors to his lush backyard and I showed my thanks with return gifts of fresh eggs and jars of pickles.

On the day we learned that Oskar had joined his wife in a better place, I baked a chocolate beet bundt cake and walked it down the car-lined lane, and up the stone steps to the house. I murmured our condolences to his son, Dan, and then turned and took the path past the garden on my way home.

Oskar’s garden lay fallow that summer, but the raspberries burst forth in fruit anyway, just one small part of the legacy he had left behind to flourish. We picked a few pints of berries, but the place felt oddly silent without our friend leaning on his shovel.

Aimee Clara Mateo picking rasperriesPhoto by Tim Chin

Then, last fall, Dan walked over with two large pails of raspberry canes. He had transplanted much of the pot to border the rock wall, and brought me the rest. “They’re yours.” he said, as I stood there gaping, then dashed indoors to raid the preserves pantry. I handed him a jar of pickles and a few jars of jam as a thank you, but knowing full well that I received the better end of the swap.

That fall, our whole family dug up a section of lawn along our fence, heaped in earth and compost, and planted the canes. Winter arrived shortly afterward and by Christmas, the snow had buried the short sticks in drifts.

Spring was an anxious time, as it seemed like everything in our yard was bursting into leaves, except for those dry brown canes. Would they take to their new habitat or would they only flourish for Oskar?

raspberries just pickedPhoto by Tim Chin

In early May, the first buds appeared, and an unusually warm month brought forth bright green leaves soon after. Now, Clara skips over to the plot a few times a day and closely inspects for ripe berries. She is a new generation, growing up in the garden with a close awareness of the seasons. She has seen firsthand how dead-looking sticks can flourish with the sun and eventually, produce her favourite summer berry.

Our homestead now has a thriving raspberry patch, and another small homestead dream of mine is realized. Being neighbourly has its benefits, but our friendship with Oskar turned into a perennial blessing for our family.

Broiled Raspberry Brie Brûlée with Thyme-Infused Honey || Simple Bites

Honey-Drizzled Raspberry Brie Brûlée

Most of our homegrown raspberries don’t even make it in the house, but occasionally I’ll slip outside once the children are in bed and still be able to gather a few handfuls for Danny and I share.

On a recent Friday evening, after a particularly long and exhausting week, we poured ourselves a drink and I experimented on a little late-night nibble for the two of us. A simple wedge of cheese paired with fruit and baguette is our standard, simple ‘date night in’ fare, especially in summer, when the fruit is local and at its peak.

Remembering our mutual love of a classic baked Brie cheese with a fruit compote, but also thinking about Tracy’s recent raspberry and mascarpone brûlée, I preheated the oven to Broil.

Broiled Raspberry Brie Brûlée with Thyme-Infused Honey || Simple Bites

I scattered cubes of brie and raspberries in a small baking dish and generously drizzled it with a thyme-infused honey I keep on hand for sweetening iced tea. I popped it under the broiled, along with thin slices of baguette, and two minutes later, we were dipping warm rounds of toast into a delicious tangle of warm cheese and honey-brûléed raspberries.

For a dish with as little effort as this one requires, the result is highly rewarding. A honey-drizzled raspberry brie brûlée works for both a nibble for two on a date night in or an entertaining appetizer for four. Danny and I also enjoyed it as a finish to a meal, combining both the fruit and the cheese course into one – and forgetting entirely about dessert.

The gooey brie and raspberries berries are well matched and plenty of honey balances out the tangy fruit. Similar to how a drizzle honey complements apricots or figs, the sweetener rounds out the dish. In truth, a classic brûlée calls for a sprinkling of sugar, but don’t do that to brie. And speaking of the cheese, try and buy the best you can afford, so that it melts properly.

Honey-Drizzled Raspberry Brie Brûlée || Simple Bites

I like the contrasting crunch that the crostini provides against the soft berries, but you could also serve this snack with crackers, such as a homemade Wheat Thin or sliced baguette. And of you have a warm grill, toss the bread on their first to warm it.

Whatever you do, don’t let this berry season pass you by without sharing a dish of honey-drizzled raspberry brie brûlée. And now finally, here’s the recipe.

.Broiled Raspberry Brie Brûlée with Thyme-Infused Honey || Simple Bites-1

Raspberry Brie Brûlée with Thyme-Infused Honey
5.0 from 2 reviews
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Recipe type: Appetizer
Author:
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves/Yield: Serves 2-4
A summery appetizer that is simple to make and irresistibly good. it features just a few ingredients, which allows the gorgeous berries to shine. Dip warm rounds of toast into a delicious tangle of warm cheese and honey-brûléed raspberries and live happily ever after.
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons mild liquid honey
  • 2 branches fresh thyme
  • 1 baguette, sliced thin
  • 1 1/4 cups fresh raspberries
  • 4 oz best quality brie cheese
Instructions
  1. Warm honey in a small sauce pot until very hot and runny. Add the thyme and cover the pot. Let stand until cool.
  2. Preheat oven to 400F and move the baking rack to the highest position, right under the broiler.
  3. Place baguette slices on a rimmed baking tray. Bake for 5-6 minutes or until golden brown. Be carful not to let them burn! Remove from oven and cool.
  4. Preheat oven to Broil. Arrange half of the raspberries in a small baking dish. Cut the brie into 1-inch cubes and tuck around the berries. Add the remaining raspberries around the cheese.
  5. Drizzle the berries with all of the honey. Place the pan under the broiler and broil for 2 minutes. Ovens may vary, so keep an eye on the dish. Remove when the cheese is half melted.
  6. Serve at once with toasts. Use a small spoon to scoop the soft cheese and berries onto the toasts and enjoy warm.
Notes
You could also prepare this in 4 ramekins and make individual portions.

Clara with just picked raspberries

More recipes for brûléed raspberries:

About Aimee

Cooking has always been Aimée's preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop, serving as editor here at Simple Bites. Her first book, Brown Eggs and Jam Jars - Family Recipes from the Kitchen of Simple Bites, was published in February 2015.

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Comments

  1. What a wonderful way to keep a kind neighbour with your family.

  2. A lovely reminiscence… As my neighbour says about houses and gardens on our street, we are the stewards of these lovely old properties and plants and garden stories. We have very old rhubarb plants from my own grandmother and my late FIL’s family home (next town over) in our garden, and I love that link with family gardens – and pies – of generations past.

    • We really are their stewards, Pippa.. And what better link than a living, thriving, fruit-bearing connection. Thanks for reading along.

  3. What a touching story! As I grow older the connection to others and to the land grows stronger. I think I know myself better and I have a greater appreciation for the things that truly matter. Cherish those raspberries and memories of your friend.

  4. Aimee – this is an exquisite essay! Top notch from the first phrase to the mouth watering recipe. It’s everything about your urban homestead bundled into a beautiful package – neighbors, sharing, preserving, love, comfort, growing, seasons, kids, family, and amazing food. Love!

    • Alissa, you are too kind. I wrapped this up late last night and went to bed wondering if anyone would even read my long story. Thanks for not only taking time to read, but to soak it in, as well. I appreciate the encouragement.

  5. What a great story about good neighbourship.
    Your Raspberry Brie Brûlée looks so delicious.
    I will try it over the summer:-)

  6. hey girl love the story! So sweet!

  7. Cite-Menu says:

    damnnnn ! it seems so delicious

  8. nancyabc says:

    A wonderful story and such a nice neighbor.

  9. Both my daughters are Brie fanatics. I know they would totally love this. Perfect for entertaining.

  10. Beautiful!

  11. Your story resonated with me, too. My raspberry canes came from a friend and whenever I’m out picking berries in the garden, my thoughts turn to her and some of the laughs we’ve shared over the years. Your recipes is just so elegant, and yet so simple! Thanks:)

  12. When I was younger, my parents rented a cottage near my grandpa’s cottage in Vermont, and the land the rental cottage was on had a huge wild blueberry patch. The blueberries were tiny and such a nuisance to pick, but those blueberries were the best. My parents eventually took over my grandpa’s cottage when he got older and so we stopped renting that cottage nearby. Breaks my heart that we lost those wild blueberries, and my mother says that the people that eventually bought that cottage “upgraded” the landscape, throwing away the wild blueberry bushes. She wishes they would have given them to us. My dad regrets leaving the bushes behind, although he’s far too honest to have actually stollen the bushes to take with us…
    I think it’s so beautiful that Oskar’s son recognized how much Oskar and his garden meant to you and your family. What a gift!

  13. We had a plentitude of raspberries growing up on the farm and I remember what a chore it was when mom sent us out to pick them. It took forever to get a small dish!
    Now I love doing stuff like that. There’s something about growing your own food. Seems to always taste better, doesn’t it? Your raspberry and brie recipe sounds right up my alley!

  14. What a great post! I actually have a wheel of brie in my fridge—and have for longer than I care to admit—because I haven’t been able to decide what to do with it. Now I need to go get some raspberries 🙂

  15. What a beautiful story! This raspberry and brie recipe looks so simple and delicious. Thanks for sharing.

  16. This looks incredible. I can’t wait to make this for my husband and I to enjoy with our glass of wine after the kidlets are tucked in bed!

  17. Oh gosh, I really want to dig into that dish! My sister-in-law always makes baked brie with almonds and dried cranberries, but I’ve never thought of making it with fresh fruit. Such a great idea–I can just imagine how delicious a bite combining the juicy raspberries and the salty brie must be. I’m bookmarking this for our next family gathering (if I can convince my sis-in-law to take over the baked brie task! 😉
    P.S. Clara’s top bun! She’s adorable.

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