Holiday Entertaining Part 2 - The Best (and easiest) hor d'oeuvre - Baked Brie

This Holiday season we're determined to bring entertaining back home!  In part 2 of our Holiday Entertaining Series I'm sharing a favorite - Baked Brie.  Whether you're hosting, or you have to bring something to share for a holiday event, baked brie is my go-to choice.  It's as easy as it is delicious!  There are a plethora of variations, and it's really hard to mess this up short of baking it too long.  The best part is that it is decadent and always one of the first dishes to go at any gathering I've shared it with others.  I'm going to share with you my two favorite ways of creating this dish.

#1 Baked Brie with Blackberry Compote and Spiced Mixed Nuts:

Don't feel intimidated by the name!  In the kitchen this took me less than 45 minutes total, and if you want to cheat you can buy pre-made mixed nuts at the store to cut your time to almost nothing.  Find a nice platter or cake stand to plate it on and serve it with salty and crunchy crackers for a nice balance of sweet and savory.  

You will need:

  • 1 cup mixed nuts (I like to use pecans and pistachios)
  • ½ tablespoon butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 ½ tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure maple syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt or pink Himalayan sea salt
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper (don't go overboard!)
  • 3 cups blackberries - set aside 1 cup for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 8 oz wheel of Brie cheese
  • Crackers for serving
  • Fresh Rosemary to garnish

Instructions:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. If you're making your own mixed nuts, line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place nuts on the sheet and toast for 12 minutes or until they smell toasty.
  3. While they are roasting, mix together the butter, sugar, maple syrup, cinnamon, salt, and cayenne pepper in a bowl.
  4. Place the hot mixed nuts into the mixture and stir to evenly coat. Spread the nuts back onto the baking sheet on a single layer and bake for another 10 minutes, stirring every 3-4 minutes. Remove from the oven and let them cool.
  5. In a medium saucepan, heat the blackberries, lemon juice, honey, and vanilla on medium heat. Be sure to stir regularly. As you notice the berries liquify, turn the heat up to medium. Continue to stir and cook over medium heat until it has the constancy of syrup.
  6. Carefully slice away the top of the Brie rind and discard it. Leave the sides intact. Bake for 15 minutes or until melted through and you can see it slightly bubbling.
  7. Top the baked Brie with blackberry compote and mixed nuts mixture.
  8. Garnish with the remaining blackberries and fresh rosemary.
  9. Serve immediately with crackers.
  10. You will have extra blackberry compote. I love to serve this over crepes and pancakes on the weekend with some fresh whipped cream!  The compote will keep for 1-2 weeks in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

 

#2 Baked Brie En Croute: 

This is THE easiest recipe in the world!  If you need something that is just as decadent but a little bit quicker, I would recommend this.  It's also easy to transport if you need something delicious to bring to your next holiday party.  To be honest, I rarely use a recipe for this and improvise with ingredients all the time as it's pretty fail safe.  Your filling can be salty or sweet and the type of Brie I use is whatever I find readily available at the grocery store.

Ingredients:

  • 1 8 oz wheel Brie cheese
  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry (package comes with 2 sheets)
  • Your filling of choice (here I re-used the blackberry compote)
  • crackers for serving

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Lay the puff pastry out on buttered or greased cookie sheet. Place the Brie in the center of the pastry. Spread your filling of choice on top of the Brie in a thick layer. Gather up the edges of the dough and evenly wrap around the Brie. Gently press down on the dough ends at the top to ensure that you have a solid seal.  I always do a full 360 view of the Brie to ensure there are no holes in the pastry as you don't want your filling to leak and burn in the oven. Bake for 20 minutes until pastry is golden brown.

Other ideas for fillings are any jellies, preserves, nuts and fresh berries and I particularly know that my family favors a spicy hot pepper jelly that we buy at Costco.  It's the perfect combination of spicy, sweet and salty!

Whether you're a novice or a pro in the kitchen, both of these recipes are delightful.  We hope you're inspired to try one for your next gathering!  Happy holidays from Blomma Designs!

 

Photos - Erica Rose Photography