Delighted and honoured to kick off episode #1 of “In Char’s Kitchen” with Bracebridge Mayor Graydon Smith. We laughed, we cooked and we ate! Hope you enjoy the recipes as much as we did preparing and indulging in them.

Caramel Covered Brie with Dried Fruit and Nuts

This divine “starter” is a guaranteed show stopper. It presents as beautifully as it tastes, and will have your guests raving for days. Serve as an appetizer, or as a cheese course with Port for an after dinner nibble.

1 cup (250 mL) packed brown sugar
1/2 cup (125 mL) butter
1/4 cup (60 mL) corn syrup
1/2 tsp (2 mL) baking soda
½ cup (125 mL) mixed salted nuts
½ cup (125 mL) dried cranberries
2 tsp (10 mL) chopped fresh rosemary
Pinch cayenne pepper (or to taste)
9 inch (1 kg) round double cream Brie wheel, slightly warmed

Combine brown sugar, butter and corn syrup in a medium sauce pot. Cook over medium heat stirring only once or twice until mixture comes to a gentle boil. Continue to cook for about one minute without stirring. Remove from heat and quickly stir in baking soda. Stir in nuts, dried cherries, rosemary and cayenne. Place Brie wheel on a wooden cutting board (or platter) and pour caramel mixture over Brie. Serve with an assortment of crackers and fresh fruit. Serves 8 to 10.

Char’s Berry Trifle

This fresh and flavourful dessert is perfect for a “non cook” to prepare – as you don’t even need to turn on the oven.

store bought pound cake (about 400 g), cut in small cubes (you will only need about half of the cake)
4 cups (1 L) mixed berries (*I like strawberry & blueberry combo)
1 tbsp (15 mL) Niagara ice wine (optional)
1 ¼ cup (310 mL) Gay Lea Foods Co-operative Ltd. Premium Gold Sour Cream
1 vanilla bean, cut in half and seeds removed
2 tbsp (30 mL) Muskoka Maple syrup

Divide pound cake cake evenly between 4 small trifle/parfait dishes. Toss berries with ice wine and divide evenly over pound cake. Stir sour cream with seeds of vanilla bean and maple syrup. Divide evenly over fruit and serve. Makes 4 servings.
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