It's party time again and I offered to bring an appetizer. It's always challenging for me to come up with new ideas for appetizers. I was looking for something that would be easy to transport, was warm, and didn't require the use of the hostess' oven when I arrived. At last, after searching long and hard, I found a fun little recipe that met my criteria.
Brie en Croute is a wheel of brie cheese wrapped in puff pastry and baked to a golden brown. The beauty of it was it has to set for an hour after it bakes before serving it. This was perfect because it allowed me to bake it at home and transport it easily. By the time I got to the party an hour had passed and it was ready to be devoured. If you cut into it too soon the cheese is too runny and flows everywhere.
I found several recipes for Brie en Croute on www.puffpastry.com. This one is filled with dried cherries and pecans and was just different enough to interest me. Some other fillings that would be yummy are almonds and parsley, caramelized onions and thyme, or cranberries and walnuts. The possibilities are endless.
BRIE EN CROUTE WITH DRIED CHERRIES, PECANS AND ROSEMARY
1/2 of a 17.3-ounce package Pepperidge Farm® Puff Pastry Sheets (1 sheet) 1 egg 1 tablespoon water 1/3 cup dried cherries, softened* 1/4 cup chopped toasted pecans 1/4 cup honey 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves OR 1/8 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves, crushed 1 (13.2 ounces) Brie cheese round 1 package (26 ounces) Pepperidge Farm® Entertaining Quartet Distinctive Crackers
Thaw the pastry sheet at room temperature for 40 minutes or until it's easy to handle. Heat the oven to 400°F. Beat the egg and water in a small bowl with a fork.
Unfold the pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface. Roll the pastry sheet into a 14-inch square. Stir the cherries, pecans, honey and rosemary in a small bowl. Spread the cherry mixture into the center of the pastry square. Top with the cheese round. Brush the edges of the pastry with the egg mixture.
Fold two opposite sides of the pastry over the cheese.Trim the remaining two sides of the pastry square to 2-inches from the edge of the cheese. Fold the sides up onto the cheese and press the edges to seal. Place the pastry-wrapped cheese seam-side down onto a baking sheet. Brush the pastry with the egg mixture Decorate the top with pastry scraps cut with coolie cutters, or additional rosemary, if desired. Brush the pastry with the egg mixture.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the pastry is deep golden brown. Let stand for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Serve with the crackers.
*To soften cherries, mix the cherries and 1/2 cup hot water in a small bowl. Let stand for 1 minute. Drain and pat the cherries dry.
** I had a hard time finding a 13 ounce wheel of brie cheese ( it's easier to find during the holiday months). I did find a 19 ounce wheel at Costco, so I just rolled the puff pastry a little thinner so it would fit over the wheel. I didn't have as much dough left over to decorate with, but it still worked.
If you would like to view a three minute video of step-by-step preparation, go to: www.puffpastry.com and click on watch video next to the picture.