Cheese marinated in brandy with vanilla
This is a wonderful appetiser and is super-easy to make. Swedes love vanilla (vanilla sauce is served with so many desserts), but here it is matched with cheese and pears. It is an exciting combination that makes for a great talking point as most people will never have had cheese marinated with vanilla before.
I use Xanté, a pear brandy, which is produced in Sweden. It is made from pears, French brandy and a touch of vanilla and can be bought from specialist shops or online. However, if you haven't got any Xanté you can improvise (see the Tips below).
The recipe has been adapted from my book Västerbottensost, which has 50 recipes featuring the king of Swedish cheeses. Of course, the recipe is best made with Västerbottensost, which you can buy online or in specialist shops, but you can substitute Cheddar if necessary. Susanne Jonsson
• Make the marinade in advance and keep it the fridge. Bring it out of the fridge a couple of hours before required and then add the cheese to the marinade about 30 minutes before required.
• If you haven't got any Xanté, add some slices of pear in step 1. In step 2 replace the Xanté with 6 tablespoons of brandy. (Eat the pear slices afterwards with some yoghurt: delicious!)
• Provide cocktail sticks as the cheese will be sticky.
|100 ml||(½ cup)||water|
|100 g||(½ cup)||caster (superfine) sugar|
|100 ml||(6 tbsp)||Xanté (pear brandy)|
|100 g||(4 oz)||Västerbottensost, cut into bite sized pieces*|
|cocktail sticks for serving|
*If you can't get Västerbottensost then use another good quality hard cheese such as Cheddar.
1. Cut the vanilla pod in two lengthways and scrape the seeds out into a small saucepan. Add the water and caster (superfine) sugar to the pan and heat over a moderate heat, stirring carefully until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 10 minutes.
2. Leave to cool and then add the Xanté. (If you are making the marinade a day or two in advance, pour it into a jar, making sure to add all the vanilla seeds too, and store in a fridge.)
3. About 30 minutes before required, add the cheese pieces and gently turn them in the marinade.
4. After 30 minutes, transfer the cheese pieces to a serving dish and garnish with some pieces of the vanilla pod.
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