Since ancient times and revered among many faiths, figs have symbolized security and prosperity. With its muscular and twisting branches and bright green tropical feeling foliage, this Mediterranean fruit tree yields a velvety skin, crunchy seed, and fleshy pulp that marries beautifully with creamy brie and crunchy nuts. Pistachios and walnuts provide texture and depth of flavor to a recipe that might be otherwise too sweet. To enjoy the fig's subtle taste, an inexpensive house brie is most definitely the cheese of choice. This is a guilty sensory pleasure type of appetizer that pleases nearly everyone. If fresh figs are available, cut two or three into quarters, toss in a small glug of olive oil, and place them on top before placing the prepared cheese in the oven.
It is important to use an oven to table serving vessel that fits the cheese and the topping comfortably. Too big and the brie loses its structure--it will still taste yummy but be a bit unsightly. A 1" space around the cheese is perfect. The STAUB 6" CAST IRON GRATIN ROUND BAKING DISH is the perfect size for a standard 9 ounce grocery store wheel of Brie. The same simple technique delivers consistent results with an apricot jam and almond combination (sliced dried ap. Allowing the brie to come to room temperature before placing in the oven shortens the cooking time and allows the plate to evenly heat and toast without burning the nuts.