Maple bread with melted Camembert and warm cranberry compote is a festive dish that is perfect for holiday entertaining.
Johnson County Community College student chef Kristie Kutei spent several months creating the recipe before presenting it to the chefs she works with. Their reaction? They wanted to put it on the menu as a dessert.
Kutei starts with sourdough baguettes that she purchases. She coats slices of the bread with a maple syrup mixture, then sautes them in a pan until they caramelize.
When you put the final dish together with the Camembert, you’ll find cutting the cheese easier if you place it on parchment paper and use a sharp knife.
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You can substitute pancake syrup for pure maple syrup, but the flavor will be slightly different.
About the student chef
Recipe and food styling by Kristie Kutei, 19, a second-year student in the Johnson County Community College culinary program. She is an apprentice at Hank Charcuterie in Lawrence.
About the column
Cooking 101 is a column exclusive to The Star designed to introduce home cooks to basic cooking techniques. The recipe, food styling and photography are a joint project between culinary students and instructors at Johnson County Community College’s Hospitality Management Program.
Maple Bread With Cranberry Compote
Makes 20 to 25 (1/4-inch) crostini
For the bread:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
8 (1/2-inch) slices sourdough baguette
Flaked sea salt
For the compote:
1 (8-ounce) bag fresh cranberries
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup agave nectar or honey
2 to 3 tablespoons light corn syrup
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 (4.5-inch in diameter) disk Camembert cheese, at room temperature
12 slices deli turkey
Snipped chives, for garnish
To make the bread: Combine melted butter and maple syrup until completely blended. Coat all slices of bread in maple butter, making sure all pieces are thoroughly saturated. Remove bread from mixture and immediately place in medium sauté pan on medium-high heat, brushing off excess maple mixture. Cook evenly on both sides until caramelized and slightly browned, about 3 minutes. (It is important to watch carefully at this point so that you do not burn the bread but only caramelize it. It will look a bit wet but mostly dry to the touch except for the stick of the sugar.)
Transfer to prepared, oiled holding dish and immediately sprinkle with a small amount of the flaked salt before the bread dries completely. Cool bread until hardened but still slightly warm. Repeat process with remaining bread.
To make the compote: Combine cranberries, sugar, nectar or honey and corn syrup in a small saucepan and bring to simmer. Simmer 4 to 7 minutes, or until cranberries are burst and all liquid has reduced slightly to thickened syrup, just under the consistency of honey, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust sweetness level to personal preference. Cool about 5 minutes away from heat and serve warm or cold.
To assemble: Drizzle the olive oil over the bread slices. Cut Camembert into thin rectangular slices, rind on, fitting the size of the sourdough crostinis. Top with more drizzles of olive oil and cranberry compote. Layer with turkey and sprinkle with chives. Serve immediately.
Per crostini, based on 20: 152 calories (35 percent from fat), 6 grams total fat (3 grams saturated), 13 milligrams cholesterol, 22 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams protein, 162 milligrams sodium, 1 gram dietary fiber.