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Festive Baked Brie

Even for a very high-end, exclusive catering event, I almost always serve a couple of baked brie. There is something so beautiful about the presentation, and something luxurious and satisfying for your guest. They are also very versatile, allowing you to keep them vegetarian, meat based, or use seasonal fruit. Below are 3 three of my favorites, extremely simple to make and full of flavor.

 

The Basic Baked Brie:

 

  • 2 sheets of store-bought, all butter puff pastry
  • 1 x 6" diameter double or triple cream Quebec brie
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp water, beaten

 

Place the first sheet of puff pastry on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Center the brie on the first sheet and spread one of the following 3 toppings evenly over the top. Brush some of the egg wash around the base of the cheese, then carefully cover with the second sheet. Trim some of the excess pastry (especially at the corners) and fold up the edges, creating a seal. Brush the top with egg wash and poke 4 little holes with a paring knife in the top. You can use the trim pieces to decorate the tops if desired...I often use leaf cookie cutters or snowflakes and lay them on top.

 

Preheat the oven to 400 F and bake on the middle rack for about 25 minutes. Rest the brie for 10 minutes before serving, as the cheese will be extremely hot.

 

Topping 1: Cranberry, Pear, and Star Anise

 

  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
  • ¼ cup cranberry juice (orange juice is fine too)
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • 2 star anise pods
  • ¾ cup diced pear

 

Combine the cranberries, juice, sugar, and star anise in a small pot and cook until the berries melt and begin to thicken slightly. Add the pears and cook just until they are warmed through but not falling apart. This should take about 15 minutes on low heat. Remove the star anise pods and discard. Cool completely before topping the brie.

 

Topping 2: Brown Sugar, Pecan, and Balsamic

 

  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup halved pecans, toasted in the oven for a few minutes
  • 1 tbsp good quality balsamic vinegar

 

Simply cover the top of the brie with sugar, pecans, and a drizzle of balsamic, then complete assembly and bake.

 

Topping 3: Prosciutto, Roasted Corn, and Tomato

 

  • 4 slices prosciutto
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • ½ cup frozen corn
  • 1 fresh tomato, seeds removed and diced
  • 6 leaves fresh basil (optional)

 

Sauté the prosciutto in oil until it is crispy, then remove it from the pan with a slotted spoon, leaving as much of the oil in the pan as possible. Sauté the garlic, onions, and corn until slightly brown in color, then add the tomato and coarsely chopped basil leaves. Add the prosciutto back to the pan and season with salt and pepper (hot sauce is great here too!). Cool completely before using in the brie recipe.

 

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