Friday, February 20, 2015

Vanilla-Butter-Braised Lobster

Per Nana~
In this week's recipe Dorie calls for a whole lobster, but I used two lobster 
tails instead.  Unfortunately, a 4 oz tail does not have a great deal of "meat" 
so I decided to make this an appetizer followed by a cheese omelet.

 I found the process of preparing the clarified butter very time consuming but 
the end result was tasty.  I served it over a bit of sautéed spinach.  
I can't honestly say that I would make this recipe again but I am glad that
 I did prepare it today. It is always interesting to try new flavors - 
sometimes they work for you and sometimes they don't. 
Per Tricia~

This was phenomenal. PHENOMENAL.
My husband was looking forward to the vanilla addition all along but I
 personally could not wrap my head around the flavors until I tasted it. 

The aroma was far stronger than the actual flavor. It was a lovely combination 
that I would simply never have considered if not for "Around My French Table"
 by Dorie Greenspan. Thank you Dorie !  
While this makes a lovely main course we enjoyed it in a different way... 
adding it to a family treat night when I made Baked Brie en Croûte with 
Apple Compote after we had enjoyed an early steak dinner with my younger son.  
I have made and frozen the apple compote successfully so I just have to take a 
portion out and assemble the brie and puff pastry when we are in the mood for 
this delicious treat.  It is fabulous for company too as well. 
Needless to say, it felt like a very special occasion even though it was simply
 a Sunday night. I will absolutely be repeating this lobster and likely will
 reconsider whether I make it without vanilla ever again. Yes, it was THAT good. 
And no, I could not bring myself to cook the whole live 
lobsters so I chickened out and got the tails only. 

Williams-Sonoma Baked Brie En Croûte:

This appetizer can be made up to 2 weeks in advance. Assemble the pastry, cheese and apple compote, but don't brush the dough with the egg wash. Instead, wrap the pastry tightly with plastic wrap and freeze until ready to bake. Then brush the frozen pastry with the egg wash and bake in a 350°F oven for 45 to 50 minutes.


  • 1 Tbs. unsalted butter 
  • 2 Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored and
      cut into 1/2-inch dice 
  • 1/4 cup sugar 
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cardamom 
  • 1 round Brie cheese, 6 to 8 oz. and about 4 1/2
      inches wide, slightly chilled 
  • 10-inch round of puff pastry dough, rolled out to
      1/4-inch thickness 
  • 1 egg, beaten with 1 Tbs. water 
  • Plain water crackers for serving


In a 2-quart sauté pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the apples and sauté, stirring occasionally, until the apples are tender and have released most of their liquid, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the sugar and cardamom, stir to dissolve and cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated, 12 to 15 minutes more. Remove from the heat and let the apple compote cool to room temperature.

Preheat an 
oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

With a sharp knife, cut the cheese in half horizontally. On a clean work surface, place one half of the cheese, sliced side up, and evenly spread 1/2 cup of the apple compote over it. Set the other half, sliced side down, over the compote and spread 1/2 cup compote over the top.

Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and set the cheese in the center of the dough. Fold the dough up over the sides of the cheese, pleating the upper edges to fit snugly around the cheese. Pinch the dough together in the center to seal. Brush the dough evenly with the egg wash and place on the prepared baking sheet.
Bake until the pastry is golden all over and crisp, 40 to 45 minutes. Let it rest for 5 minutes, then transfer to a platter along with a sharp knife and the crackers. Serve any remaining compote alongside.
Serves 6 to 8.


  1. I have made that brie a couple of times, too, Tricia! Phenomenal. Boy did you have a feast! Bill even liked this recipe---though I used shrimp for him. Nana, glad you gave it a shot, too :) Happy weekend to you both. xo

  2. Good for both of you for giving it a try (and no, I didn't use whole lobster either!). I didn't use the vanilla but I enjoyed the process of this very much.

  3. Tricia: whoa. I'm coming over to your house as that all sounds fabulous! Thanks for that recipe, too, as I'll be jumping on that sometime in the near future!

    Nana: I served ours on the steamed spinach as well and also did it as an appetizer. We liked it more than you all, though my guests, whom I begged for criticism, said they weren't fond of the spinach with it. They just thought it didn't go all that well. It sure isn't something I'd normally have chosen to make!

  4. Oh man! I want baked brie and apple compote now! I can't get my hands on lobster, so I'm going to attempt to make a version of this using shrimp this weekend. It could be a disaster. Yours looks divine!

  5. Amazing meal so glad the vanilla was a hit. I was skeptical about the flavor.

  6. Me too, I was skeptical about the vanilla and lobster combo, but it worked. As much as I liked the lobster, that brie sounds even better. I've wrapped brie in pastry before, but the apple compote would take it to a whole new level. Nice job, ladies!

  7. Nana, glad you tried it, even if it was just ok for you. Tricia, love your plates and so glad that the lobster was a hit for you. I am eyeing up that brie en croute hungrily.

  8. Tricia, your plates are so much fun. Lovely presentation. I'm so glad you all loved the lobster, and your baked brie looks delicious as well. Nana, I'm sorry you didn't like this one better, but glad you were happy to try it.

  9. Hi Nana, we would eat lobster again but not this particular preparation. I think it was too involved and I couldn't get over the amount of butter.
    Hi Tricia, I am glad that you liked this one. I have never made baked brie before but it sounds like I should put it on my to-do list. I am not sure if Costco is in PA but they have lobster tails 8oz each. Have a great week.

  10. Nana: the steamed spinach was so delicious with this, wasn´t it?! I like your presentation of the vanilla-butter-braised lobster on a bed of those lovely greens and garnished with the vanilla bean!
    Tricia: fabulous all around! The plate with the French design, the wonderful lobster and your baked brie - since we love brie and apple compote, I will certainly give this recipe a try a.s.a.p. thanks for bringing it to our attention! What a feast indeed!
    Hope that you are enjoying a wonderful Sunday!

  11. Tricia and Ro, I left a comment earlier but checked to see that it "took". It didn't. It was funny and clever so I will try to repeat my funniness and cleverness although I am not feeling particularly creative at those two things right now. My girls just left after spending 5 days with me and I am bummed. I invited them to stay longer. They all accepted. But, they still got in the car and drove away. Ro, I liked the experience of it and actually doing it (with Susan and John, of course) but probably won't make this again. I think the vanilla infusion is an acquired taste. Liked it once. I probably will try this with scallops. And, Tricia, I am very happy you knocked this one out of the ballpark. Your meal sounded beyond fantastic but not sure you hit all the food groups. Steak always works for me but these days it's a treat. I have never made the W-S recipe but have seen it before. Must try. Nice Post, Ladies.

  12. Forget the lobster, I want that brie!
    Nana - I like the idea of this as an appetizer.

    I was thinking of both of you lades as I traipsed through the Philly airport last Friday. Although, I was cursing the airport as I only had ten minutes to get from the B to the F concourse before my next flight was scheduled. I waved at you as I flew away - I am sure you knew that :-)

    P.S. The magical jar of piment d'esplette received quite a workout this weekend.

  13. Nana - look at it this way, you'll save time and money by not preparing this one again:-)

    Tricia - your meal looks amazing! One of my aunts used to make a baked brie with apricot jam for Christmas and it was always a huge hit, I might have to give it a try myself.

  14. This was a fun one! A great excuse for a special dinner.