November 26, 2006

Brie en Croûte

This is a wonderful appetizer that I served for Thanksgiving this year. It's extremely easy yet really impressive. So, in other words, it's exactly what you want when you're preparing so much other food for a huge meal!

There are many variations of baked brie. I decided to top mine with fig preserves and sliced almonds before wrapping it in the puff pastry, which was a huge hit. I've also had it with raspberry preserves, which is also amazingly good! There is a traditional French recipe where the wheel of brie is cut in half and cooked mushrooms and shallots are sandwiched in the middle, then wrapped in pastry. I've never had any purely savory variation, but have seen recipes using sundried tomatoes, as well as the mushrooms. As I'm not a huge fan of the baked bries that are topped with lots of nuts and brown sugar, I find this recipe a perfect middle ground; slightly sweet but without overwhelming that expensive round of brie you just bought! Experiment away!

Baked Brie with Sliced Almonds and Fig Preserves

1 sheet frozen puff pastry
about 3 Tbsp fig preserves (or any seedless jam you like)
2-3 Tbsp sliced almonds, toasted
1 (13.2 oz) wheel brie (maybe 5-6 in. diameter)
1 egg + 1 tsp water

Thaw the puff pastry sheet by removing from the freezer 30 minutes before you start to assemble the appetizer. Lightly beat the egg with 1 tsp of water to make an egg wash. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

Once flexible, unfold the pastry into a square on a lightly floured surface. Roll out the pastry slightly, to about 1/8 in. thick. Spread the preserves in the middle of the pastry in a circle the same size as the wheel of brie. Sprinkle the almonds over the jam and place the cheese on top.

Bring 2 opposite sides of pastry up and over the cheese. Fold in the other sides, trimming any extra, and "glueing" it together with a small amount of egg wash. Place seam side down on an ungreased baking sheet. Decorate the top with the scraps of pastry if you like. Using a pastry brush, brush the entire thing with egg wash. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown. Let stand at least 30 minutes or up to an hour before serving. Serve with water crackers or toasted baguette slices.

This is equally delicious 2 ways: after just 30 minutes, so that the brie is still hot and oozes out of the pastry, or bake it way ahead of time and let it cool at least an hour so that it can firm up and be easily sliced.


Genie said...

My boyfriend and I were the lucky guinea pigs on this one...I can vouch that it is pretty damn fabulous!

Megan, thanks for posting the recipe. Now I'm going to have to try to make it myself!

Tanna said...

The fig is just the best and yes it is so simple to do and comes out so awesome looking as yours does!!! Beautiful to look at and better to eat!

Ivonne said...

Oooooooooooh! I think I've found one of my appetizers for New Year's Eve. Thank you!

Megan said...

Genie - I'm so glad you could be my guinea pigs!! What a fun evening we had!

Tanna - I was quite happy with the fig jam - it's subtle but nice.

Ivonne - I'm so glad to help! Let me know your take on it!

Traci said...

I just inherited an old party-foods cookbook from my Great Aunt Bertha, who passed away a few years ago, and a dish like this is on this first page! It looked elegant then and it looks elegant now.

Megan said...

traci - thanks! i love looking through old cookbooks...what a wonderful thing to have - especially one that holds so many memories! thanks for stopping by!

Anonymous said...

Wow! Does that look great!

Alicat said...

I think I like the idea of jam and perhaps some sliced almonds rather than loads of brown sugar and walnuts like a lot of recipes call for. Thank you for the inspiration! :)