Try one of these baked Brie recipes and I can almost guarantee you will be back for more of this French appetizer. Most people serve baked brie as a cocktail party nosh, but it works just as well as an entree or even as a main course accompanied by a simple green salad. Anyway you slice it, baked Brie is pure bliss.
Baking Brie is really very simple and the results are spectacular. This recipe is only intended to get you started and can be varied as you wish. I particularly like fig jam with cheese, but you may prefer another sort, or may want to take things in a more savory direction adding garlic, onions or shallots.
Use a high quality puff pastry dough for your baked Brie recipes. Always look at the ingredients on your prepared foods - the fewer ingredients, the better. I realize I may be spoiled for this, but here in France I can buy great tasting ready-made puff pastry in the refrigerator section of my grocery store. With a little searching, you should be able to find an equivalent.
You can easily halve this French appetizer recipe, using an 8 ounce wheel of Brie. Just place it on one round of puff pastry, and then gather the round on top of the cheese and pinch to close.
You can make your baked brie recipes into individual bouchées for ease of serving at a cocktail party. Just cut the puff pastry and the cheese into smaller portions and assemble with a spoonful or so of jam and a sprinkle of almonds. Place on a baking sheet and bake for slightly less time - about 20 minutes.
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Baking Time: 25 minutes
This should be served and eaten straight away, although you can warm leftovers in the microwave (watch out, it reheats very quickly).
If you want to get fancy, you can decorate the top of the pastry with scraps of dough (cut into leaf or heart shapes perhaps) applied with a bit of egg white.
Try different jams: cherry, raspberry, apricot, or peach, or sprinkle with brown sugar or honey for the sweet touch.
Use toasted walnuts, pecans, or hazelnuts for the crunch.
Instead of jam, try caramelized onions or shallots as a topping, or go completely savory by topping the cheese with sauteed mushrooms and garlic.
You can of course enjoy Brie cheese just as it is. Do allow it to come to room temperature to fully appreciate its flavor. Try serving it as a final course to your meal along with fresh fruit and good bread. All sorts of white wines go well with Brie including Chablis, Riesling, and Gewurztraminer, but you may also like it with a sweet wine such as Port or Sherry, especially if you are serving it with dried fruits.
In France, Brie cheese is made in the region to the east of Paris, principally in the department of Seine et Marne. Two types of Brie cheese have an AOC (appellation d’origine contrôlée): Brie de Meaux and Brie de Melun. In order to receive these appellations, the cheese must adhere to certain standards and be made in a particular area. A wheel of Brie de Meaux can weigh more then five pounds and measure a foot and a half in diameter (that's for a really big party!)
Although it originated in France, this soft cow's milk cheese is now made all over the world. Brie that is made from unpasteurized milk is considered to be superior tasting by some cheese connoisseurs, but you may only be able to find a pasteurized product. Don't let that stop you from enjoying these baked Brie recipes.
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