Thursday, February 10, 2011

Cheesy Appetizers - Baked Brie Appetizer

So, Guests are coming and you want to bake some cheese. This is a good choice because most of your guests will like cheese. Serving baked Brie as an Appetizer is more about learning the simple technique than providing a standard recipe, although I will. If you learn how to simply bake brie, then you can take that skill, add to it a little love and imagination, and you could write a cookbook just on the variations of this modern classic.

Baking Brie involves:

Dried Fruit

Wrapping the Brie in a dough Baking at about 350 degrees for 20 - 30 minutes, depending on the type of dough you use. Cooling for about ten minutes Serve with slices of toasted bread, slices of french bread or baguette,or crackers.

And you thought this would be tough. Now, on to variations.

The first variation and probably the most often served is BAKED BRIE WITH FRUIT AND NUTS. Here is how to make it.

First roll out your dough. Puff pastry is a good choice, as is a canned crescent roll product. You don't need to be too concerned with the shape of your dough at this point, only that it is large enough to completely cover the round of Brie that you will be baking in it.

Place your round of Brie, skin on, in the center of the pastry dough. You can now top the round with almost any fresh, frozen, canned,or jellied fruit. My mom loved apricot jam with the addition of a few dried apricots. I like raspberries so when available I use them fresh, or I use a raspberry whole berry jam. Be generous.

Now bring up the sides of your dough to cover your cheese and topping. You can fold the edges over and make a neat little package, but I like to gather the corners, pinching them together at the center, and letting the tails stick up. This will brown nicely if brushed with an egg wash and makes a delightful presentation if further garnished with a little of the fruit and some slivered almonds or other nut.

I like to use Filo dough because of the tender flaky crust it makes. Follow the same procedure except you must first prepare the crust. Be sure to keep the sheets of cough you aren't actually working with covered with a moist cloth when working. It will dry out within minutes. Lay out a sheet of Filo dough on a parchment covered cookie sheet. Brush it with melted butter. Lay another sheet on top and brush it with butter. Repeat this until you have built up several layers of dough. The more layers, the flakier it will be. When you have enough layers to suit you, you are ready to fill the dough with your brie and what-ever options you choose. Here are some more ideas for optional toppings. I have made all of these and they are all delicious.


Sprinkle every other sheet of Filo dough with about 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and sugar mix. Cut the round of brie in 1/2, like you would a cake layer. Lay half on the prepared dough. Spoon a couple of teaspoons of apple pie filling over the cheese. Place the other half of the cheese on top and add more pie filling. Pull the dough up and gather around the wheel of cheeses. You want the corners to flair out at the top, sort of like a gift basket wrapper. Usually a gentle twist will hold it together, but you could always tie it loosely with kitchen twine, removing it just before serving. Bake at 350 degrees 15 - 20 minutes or until filo crust is golden brown. Cool ten minutes. sprinkle cinnamon and sugar mix over the top just before serving.

BRANDIED CHERRY BRIE - My mom's all time favorite. (Must be the brandy)

One hour before you are ready to bake your brie, place 1/2 cup of dried cherries in a small pot. Add 1 cup brandy. Heat slowly until the liquid just begins to boil. You do not want a hard boil, just a low simmering boil. Cook for 5 minutes then remove from heat and let cool. Drain, reserving the liquid.

Now prepare your dough. Crescent roll pastry is a good choice for this one as it is a little thicker and will hold more of the juices in. Layer your cheese with the drained cherries. Wrap as normal. Bake at 350 degrees until the crust is golden brown, about 20 minutes. While it is cooking, return the liquid from the cherries to the pot, adding water to make 1/2 cup. Using a whisk, stir in 1/2 teaspoon corn starch. Bring to a boil stirring constantly. Turn off the heat. Let cool slightly but it should be served warm. I put it in a small bowl on the platter with the brie and sliced baguette. Include a small spoon and your guests can dribble the warm, cherry gravy,over the brie.

You can use almost any dried fruit with this method, but you may want to change your liquor preferences.


You can also choose to serve your brie with a meat rather than fruit. Try wrapping the wheel with prosciutto.

You can also use slices of pepperoni, honey ham, salami, roast beef. Whichever meat you choose usually will be a nice mix. I use a little horseradish with the roast beef. I just spread the top of the cheese and then put the meat on. Try layering a couple of thin slices of smoked salmon a teaspoon of capers, and a few rings of raw onion for an unusual twist.

Hope you try some of these. They are sure to be the hit of your next gathering.

Cheesy Appetizers - Baked Brie Appetizer

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