Start off your dinner party with an appetizer that is sure to impress your guests: crisps toasts are topped with mild, nutty Camembert and tart, tangy kumquat chutney.
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon aniseed
1 1/2 cups of sliced, de-seeded kumquats (about 8 ounces)
1 cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
1 1/4 cups freshly squeezed navel orange juice (prepared juice may be substituted)
1/2 cup dried tart cherries
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 loaf of bread such as sourdough, country white, or multi-grain
1 wheel of Ile de France Camberbert cheese
In a small, dry skillet over medium heat, toast mustard seeds and aniseed. Gently shake the pan in a back-and-forth motion until seeds are aromatic and lightly toasted, about 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a heavy, small saucepan with remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, stirring often. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until the chutney thickens and the kumquats become translucent, about 10 to 15 minutes.
Transfer chutney to a bowl and let cool before serving. Chutney can be stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Bring to room temperature or reheat on the stove top before serving.
Note: To de-seed kumquats, slice the fruit into rounds with a sharp paring knife. Using the tip of the knife, gently pluck the tiny seeds from the slices.
Using a round cookie cutter or the top of a glass, cut as many circles of bread as you need. Place on a large baking sheet, and broil for 2-3 minutes, or until crisp and golden. (These can be made several hours ahead and left uncovered on the counter top.) Top each bread round with two thin slices of Camembert and a spoonful of chutney. Place on a serving platter. Serve immediately.