Baked Brie with Walnuts and Preserves
Baked Brie should win some kind of prize for Most Impressive Looking Appetizer that Took Almost No Work to Prepare.
(When they come out with that kind of food award, let me know. I’ll be sure to enter this sumptuous hunk of easy, cheesy goodness.)
This is a great appetizer to throw together when you have unexpected guests. Once you have a wheel of brie (the little ones are just fine), you can put it together with stuff from the pantry (frozen puff pastry, nuts, jam).
Customize this recipe to suit your tastes—and what you have on hand
After you get the basic method of how to make one of these, you can really put your own stamp on it with different flavors and ingredients. Basically, the only requirement is that you start with a brie that has an edible rind. (Because, after all, you’ll be eating it rind and all…)
Make your own combination. Try different bries. Swap in different nuts and jams. Fig and pecan would be great. So would peach and almond. You get the idea.
I made this with an earthy and delicious black truffle brie that I got at (you guessed it) Sam’s Club! It was perfectly ripe and had a good mushroom-y flavor.
For the puff pastry, I used Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry. I love frozen puff pastry. It’s such a life saver to have on hand. You can do so much with it…turn it into cookies, cheese straws, tarte crust, etc. in a pinch. If you don’t have any, grab a box in the freezer section the next time you’re at the grocery store. Toss it in the freezer, and forget about it. It’ll be there when you need it.
For the brie
1 sheet frozen puff pastry
1 wheel brie
1/2 cup raspberry jam
1 cup whole walnut halves
1 egg, beaten
dark brown sugar
Sliced French bread
Sliced granny smith apples
Serves 10-12 as an appetizer
Thaw your puff pastry
Grab your puff pastry out of the freezer. Unwrap it and let it sit on the counter for about 30 minutes to thaw. You’ll need one piece for this recipe.
Assemble the baked brie
Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and set it aside. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
When your puff pastry is thawed (it’ll be soft enough to unfold without cracking), grab your brie. Unwrap it. You’re going to use it just like this, without cutting it or doing anything else to it.
Sprinkle a little flour on a board. Unfold the piece of puff pastry.
Roll it out a little to smooth out the fold lines, which will make it easier to tuck around the brie.
Check the pastry for size. Put your brie in the middle of it.
Loosely fold the pastry over the brie, making sure that you have enough to completely envelop it. If it’s too small, roll it out a little more. If the sheet of dough is ridiculously bigger than the cheese, trim a little off the edges. (How will you know if it’s too much dough? Trust me, you’ll know. It’ll be like putting an elephant-sized sweater on a little kid.)
Once you know your dough is the right size, transfer it to your parchment lined pan.
Set the brie in the center of the pastry.
Put the jam on top of the brie.
Spread it to cover the edges of the brie.
Top with a layer of nuts.
Fold the dough up over the whole thing.
You want to wind up with a nice little bundle, like this. Basically, fold it however you like, just don’t poke any holes in it, or your cheese/jam might ooze out and your pastry might not poof up as much.
Now, I left my bundle alone. If you like, however, if you have extra puff pastry (scraps or from another sheet), you can cut little strips and stick them on with egg wash to make a pretty pattern.
Beat up an egg.
Brush the top of your puff pastry bundle with the beaten egg.
Decorate the top with a few nice walnut halves (hit the tops with a little beaten egg).
Sprinkle with brown sugar.
Bake the brie!
Pop the swaddled brie into your preheated 350-degree oven. Bake for about 30 minutes, until golden brown and poofy.
When it’s done, remove it from the oven.
Transfer to a platter. Serve hot, with crackers, sliced French bread, sliced granny smith apples, etc.