our favorite holiday appetizer..

…is none other than the ever so humble baked brie. Puff pastry wrapped and dried fruit, fruit preserves and nut packed baked brie. Rich, decadent, sweet and savory it’s easily gobbled up in minutes.

This is more of an “idea” than a recipe seeing as how I make it just slightly differently almost every time I make it. The “idea” comes from my mother who almost always makes a pastry wrapped round of brie every year around the holidays. She puts it out while guests are arriving (although guests usually never get to actually taste it since my sister and I devour it the moment it pops out of the oven! I’m telling you, you can’t stop!) and serves it with crackers and apple slices. Classic combo. 

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The above photo is my mom’s cheese spread from Thanksgiving last year. The baked brie is at the top right. To the left is a spinach-artichoke dip that I made along with a savory pesto cheesecake. I served those with crackers and toasted Pannetone. Honestly though, it’s totally fine to skip that stuff, really, all you need is the brie.

So, my mom simply wraps the brie in pastry, bakes it and then tops it off with some dried fruit/jam/nuts/whatever’s in the pantry. She also serves it with any random apple she has in her fruit basket…which usually tends to be an overripe soft apple. I’m a firm believer that a good, ooey gooey, melted cheese MUST be served with a slightly tart, cold and perfectly crisp apple, therefore, in my humble opinion there is no better match than the almighty Honeycrisp. Granny Smith would be my second choice but truly Honeycrisp is the way to go. Trust me.

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So this photo is my Brie that I made for Thanksgiving this passed week. The great thing about this dish is not only that it’s absurdly, mind blowingly delicious but it also travels excellently!! If you have never had baked brie, don’t wait till the next holiday to make it, get on it now. If you’ve had it before and know it’s glory but have never made it before, make it now. You must, must, MUST experience how EASY it is and how much better it is when you make it yourself!! You’ll never buy a pastry wrapped brie ever again! 

Here’s how I made mine, this year:

Ingredients:

– 1 Round Brie Cheese (I’ve made it with both regular and light; neither Dan and I can tell the difference. I have not made it with Goat’s Brie yet but if you’re a fan of goat cheese I’m sure it would be just as enjoyable)

– 2 TBSP Fig Jam or Fig Preserves (I used an Acacia Honey Fig Preserve that I found at my local cheese shop. It was low in sugar so it wasn’t overwhelmingly sweet like a standard jam)

– 1 TBSP Raisins

– 2 TBSP Chopped Almonds (I prefer chopped Pecans but all I had were almonds-use your favorite nut!)

– 1 Egg or Egg white, beaten

Ok, here’s what you do – lay out a sheet of frozen puff pastry on a baking sheet lined with foil and sprayed with a little Pam Spray. Plop that Brie right onto the center of the pastry. Spoon the fig preserves onto the top of the brie and spread out with a knife to form a nice, even layer. Sprinkle the almonds and raisins evenly over the top. Then pick up the pieces of pastry and fold it up to the top evenly pinching the ends together so there are no holes or opening. Brush the top with the egg wash. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes, unwrapped. To reheat, place brie in a 350 degree oven completely covered in foil for 10 minutes or until warm. Serve with honeycrisp apples and GOOD crackers!

Enjoy!!

 

P.S. – Dan had this for the first time this Thanksgiving and he was blown away! Everyone who was there went crazy for it. I found the craziest thing to be that none of them had ever had this before! Dan was so obsessed that not only did he ask me to make it again for Christmas but he bought another round of brie for me to make it again Saturday night! After all the Thanksgiving indulging I couldn’t stomach more pastry so I left the puff pastry off. It was still delicious. On Saturday night I  used light Brie, topped it Lilikoi Preserves, Raisins, chopped almonds and a hefty sprinkling of cinnamon and baked it just like that. It was a bit tart from the Lilikoi, but still had a hint of warmth from the cinnamon. I loved this version and while Dan definitely enjoyed it (he only ate about 2/3’s of the whole round..) he said he liked the Fig version better and demanded the fig-brie for Christmas. 😉

xox

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