Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Autumn Fruit Open Sandwiches

Autumn Fruit Sandwiches by Ayala Moriel
Autumn Fruit Sandwiches, a photo by Ayala Moriel on Flickr.
Fruit and cheese are a classic combination, though may seem unusual when you try it the first time.

Autumn harvest fruit make particularly good pairings: concord grapes, a seasonal symbol, go wonderfully well with the sharp decay of blue cheeses. Ripe crisp apples balance the earthy sharpness of aged cheddar, or even better - the smokiness of applewood smoked variety, which invoked burning leaves and wood-stoves. And of course you can't beat the classic ripe pear with Brie cheese, renown for its fresh mushroom-like nuances and elegant, neat round mushroom-like look.

For even more memorable versions of the sandwiches, here is my personal twist. Freshly baked sourdough bread are the best choice for open sandwiches; while whole wheat sliced tea-sandwich bread type that's pre-sliced with precision at the bakery for tea-time sandwiches. Crusts can be removed from (closed) tea sandwiches - or not - depending on how fancy you want this to be. I personally like the crusts more than any other part of the bread! The concept behind removing them is to make a finger-food snack that won't require cuttlery or messing up your fancy nobelty clothes (these were the only people who could afford an afternoon tea; which takes about 4 hours to prepare if you have servants; or more like 4 days if you don't). The crusts on most standard (aka non-sourdough) breads is rather thin and easy to bite through anyway... So I would save the extra bread bites if this is a lunch snack; and remove them only if you are serving a traditional afternoon tea menu.

Ingredients (for a small crowd of 12 - use less if it's for fewer people, and reserve the remaining ingredients for the next day).

FRUIT: 1 ripe yet firm pear (Bartlett or Spadonna are the best for this purpose; Bosc have too rough of a skin). Cut into half, core, removed the stem and slice into about 4mm thick slices.
BREAD*: These go best on a freshly baked baguette bread. I also like it on the cranberry semolina bread by A Bread Affair. You will need one loaf if you are feeding small crowd of 12 people or so.
CHEESE: 200gr Brie of a creamier nature, i.e.: St. Andre's. Slice as thin as you can without making a mess. Cheese knives are invented for these soft semi-gooey consistencies.
SPREAD: Cassis Dijon grainy mustard

50gr roasted whole hazelnuts, skins removed

- On each slice of bread, spread a thin layer of cassis mustard.
- Top with thin slices of brie cheese, just enough to cover the bread slice.
- Top with pear slices, neatly arranged.
- Sprinkle hazelnuts on top. If they keep rolling off you can gently press them onto the pear and cheese slices, which are rather yielding...

Suggested tea pairing: Cassis Noir from Soirette.

Ingredients (for a small crowd of 12 - use less if it's for fewer people, and reserve the remaining ingredients for the next day).
BREAD*: 1 loaf whole wheat bread (regular bakery variety, or wholewheat sourdough) sliced
SPREAD: 15gr or about 1 TBS Butter (at room temperature) or Mayonnaise
FRUIT: 1 Apple of choice - The sweeter Honey Crisp, Gala or Pink lady are a nice sweet contrast to the smoked cheeses; while the tanginess of Mutsu or Granny Smith balances the nutty earthiness of aged cheddar. Remember - they all make wonderful sandwiches as long as they are fresh and crisp! Core, quarter and cut the apples to about 2mm slices
CHEESE: 200gr Aged Cheddar cheese, or Applewood Smoked Cheddar Cheese - thinly sliced (about 2mm)
EMBELLISHMENT: 50gr raw walnuts, coarsely chopped

- Spread each slice with butter or mayonnaise
- Top with cheese slices
- Arrange apple slices
- Sprinkle with chopped walnuts
- If using regular bread, top with the other buttered slice, and cut into triangles. If using a wholewheat sourdough bread - leave open.

Suggested tea pairing: Cask-aged Ghorka Estate black tea from O5 Rare Tea Bar.

Bon appetit!

* If you are on a gluten-free diet, or simply want to cut down on bread - these two recipe go swimmingly well with rice cakes. The thinner ones are better, and are delicious as open sandwiches. I love them so much and eat them even more often than the "real" sandwiches.

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At November 13, 2012 1:57 AM, Anonymous brie said...

I love brie paired with sliced pears...never thought to turn it into a sandwich! I especially enjpy your posts that incorporate food and tea along with fragrance...there is definitely a connection!


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