2 Brie are a Breeze

With Thanksgiving approaching fast, I thought that I’d share a few of the recipes that I’ve prepared over the years on Turkey Day. Let’s start with 2 baked brie recipes, one sweet and the other savory.

As a child, our holiday dinners always included a platter of pasta, usually ravioli. It’s a tradition that I’ve continued as an adult, always beginning special dinners for family & friends with a primo piatto of pasta. Well, with all that food to be prepared and consumed, something has to give — and it won’t be dessert, that’s for sure. So, I tend to go light with the appetizers. Besides, Max thinks that every bit of food that crosses the threshold into my his home is a potential snack. This means, in practical terms, the more appetizer dishes served, the more likely he is to “sample” one. As the graph to the right clearly shows, if 2 or fewer appetizers are served, Max will “score” a nibble less than only 30% of the time. Serve a 3rd, however, his chances more than double and he’ll snag something over 75% of the time! If 4 or more are served, you might as well put one of the appetizer trays on the floor in a corner. At least he’ll be out of the way as he noshes.

With the above in mind, I’ve found brie to be a good appetizer to serve but, rather than bake one large “wheel,” I make 2 smaller ones, a sweet and a savory. They’re easy enough to prepare, my guests can choose whichever they prefer, and, when combined, they are actually smaller than one large baked brie. That latter point will help to insure that my guests’ appetites will be saved for the actual dinner.  And, best of all, the odds are still in my favor that Max will not be joining us for appetizers. Of course, having been denied an appetizer, he will be even more hungry, as well as determined, when we move to the dining table. The question then becomes whether he will be able to scarf something from a kitchen counter or the stove top — yes, the stove top! — while I’m serving dinner. (Smart money will bet on the dog.)

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Baked Brie with Caramelized Onions and Rosemary Recipe

Ingredients

  • an 8 oz wheel of brie
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
  • olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 oz dry white wine, divided
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped, for garnish (optional)

Directions

  1. Place chopped onion and butter into a saucepan over medium heat. Season with salt and pepper and sauté until translucent, about 8 minutes.
  2. Add 1 tbsp chopped rosemary and continue cooking. The onions will become golden in color by the 30 minute mark. Keep cooking, stirring frequently. Onions need to brown but not burn. Do not rush. Lower the heat if necessary.  Add a little olive oil if pan becomes too dry.
  3. Pre-heat oven to 350˚.
  4. Once deep brown in color, add garlic and sauté for no more than 2 minutes.
  5. Add about 2 ounces of white wine and sauté until completely reduced.
  6. Use remaining wine to deglaze the pan and sauté until reduced completely.
  7. Check to see if salt & pepper are needed. (At this point, caramelized onions can be refrigerated for several days, in an airtight container, until needed.)
  8. With a large knife, carefully remove the rind from the brie’s top and discard.
  9. Place cheese in an oven-proof serving dish, cut-side up. Cover the brie with an even layer of caramelized onions.
  10. Bake in a 350˚ oven until cheese is melted, about 25 to 30 minutes.
  11. Let stand for 5 minutes. Garnish with remaining rosemary and serve.

Serving Suggestions

I prefer to serve this brie with assorted crackers and freshly made crostini — thin slices of baguette that have been lightly brushed with olive oil and toasted before being “wiped” with a cut garlic clove.

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Brie en Croute with Raspberry and Almond Recipe

Ingredients

  • an 8 oz wheel of brie
  • 3 – 4 tbsp seedless raspberry jam
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted — separated
  • 1 puff pastry sheet
  • 1 egg + 1 tbsp water, combined

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400˚.
  2. Open & spread 1 sheet of puff pastry dough atop a lightly floured work surface. Use a rolling pin to lightly smooth out any creases that may have been created by the folds.
  3. Carefully slice the brie into 2 half-layers.

    "Do you remember Becky, the little girl who lives next door? Well, she and her Mother dropped in just as I was unwrapping the puff pastry and ... "

  4. Coat the top of the lower half with the raspberry jam. Do not spread jam to the very edge; leave about a quarter-inch border.
  5. Evenly cover the jam with the sliced almonds, reserving 1 tbsp for garnish.
  6. Return top half of brie to the lower half.
  7. Place brie, upside down, onto the center of the pastry sheet. Bring up the edges of the pastry sheet to cover and enclose the brie. Trim away and save the excess.
  8. Place the brie, seam-side down on a parchment lined baking sheet. Use your hands to smooth out the pastry and make it form-fitting.
  9. Brush the exposed surface with egg wash.
  10. If artistic, use excess pastry to decorate the top.
  11. If, like me, you are anything but artistic, do the best you can and tell your guests that you let the neighbors’ 5 year-old help you with the decorating.
  12. Once decorated, brush the decorations’ surface with egg wash.
  13. Place in  400˚ oven and bake until golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes.
  14. Allow to stand for 20 minutes before moving to a serving tray/platter. Garnish with remaining almond slivers and serve.

Serving Suggestions

I prefer to serve this brie with slices of apple and pear, as well as an assortment of crackers.

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Variations

For the savory:

  • Instead of caramelized onion atop your brie, try Mandy’s delicious Onion Marmalade, from her blog The Complete Cookbook.
  • Replace the rosemary with the herb(s) of your choice. Herbs des Provence or thyme come to mind.

For the sweet:

  • The raspberry jam can easily be replaced with cherry or apricot jam. Sautéed apples with walnuts or prepared cranberries with pecans could also be used. The possibilities are endless.

Notes

Hot, melted cheese, long slivers of caramelized onion, and crispy crostini or crackers are a stain waiting to happen. By chopping rather than slicing the onions prior to caramelizing, I hope to lessen the odds of a mishap. Speaking of the onions, they can be caramelized days before being needed in the recipe. Just don’t make them too far in advance as they have a tendency to “disappear” the longer they sit in the fridge.

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63 thoughts on “2 Brie are a Breeze

  1. You know for the past dozen or so years I thought I hated brie (bad experience with it in Europe). Then on Friday Miss A and I sampled some with a raspberry jelly, much like your recipe above and what do you know, both she and I LOVED it! What a great idea for the holidays!!! And yes, my money is definitely going to be placed on Max. My dog growing up was the same way – she never met a food she didn’t like (or figure out how to snatch). Now I have a cat (Mike is allergic to dogs) that has been known to make off with an entire pork chop!

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    • My first experience with brie wasn’t a good one either but, luckily like you and the Divine Miss A, I tried it again and loved it! There are so many ways to serve it and I’ve never had any leftovers. I think we pet owners should start up a communal blog with pet food stories. I bet we would have enough material to keep the blog going for years! And, oh, how funny that blog would be!

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      • Hi John! I made the raspberry brie en croute on Friday night. It was a HUGE hit. I kid you not, it was gone within 10 minutes. My friends and I devoured it. Even Mr. N got in on the action and thought it was fantastic. Miss A was too busy chomping on her sugary nuts to try it this time, but I’m definitely making this again for Christmas! Thanks for the recipe. 🙂

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        • So glad you guys liked it, Kristy. My friends have the same reaction whenever I serve it. No matter whether it’s a big or small brie wheel, it is gone very quickly after I serve it. If I’m not careful, I won’t get any!

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    • I love caramelized onions so I’d vote savory. Besides, since there’s no puff pastry involved, it is much easier to prepare. With guests, though, the pastry enclosed brie does have a certain Wow Factor, all the more if, unlike me, you’re a talented decorator!

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        • You are very welcome, Phyllis. I’m glad that you and your guests enjoyed the brie. From my experience, it doesn’t matter whether you make the sweet or the savory, it always goes fast. Thanks for coming back to let me know how things went.

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  2. Oh John, this is by far my very favorite appetizer for cheese!! I love brie, sweet and savory – I’m a huge fan of caramalized onions! I could come home from work and just have brie and fresh baked bread!! I smiled reading about the pasta for Thanksgiving. I always say, we had pasta, turkey and birthday cake ever year!! The cake was for my birthday, it was always celebrated on Thansksgiving as it falls very close to it! When I post for appetizers for Thanksgiving, I do hope you will add this one! Now if my chihauhaus had that ratio of nibbles they would be two very stuffed fat dogs!!

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    • We’re in complete agreement about the brie, Linda. I’d imagine that if I had to “share” my birthday with a holiday, Thanksgiving would be the one I’d choose. The idea of having pasta, turkey, AND a birthday cake every year would be just great! I can’t wait to see your Thanksgiving appetizer post. I bet it will be full of delicious and tasty treats.

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  3. Baked Brie…oh boy I’m 100% behind having that on Turkey Day.

    Love the graph and after hearing Liz list all of the appetizers and side dishes we should make for Thanksgiving yesterday I know there will be 100% chance of too many options. Cheers!

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    • Dinner at my house is just like anywhere else with one exception. Good friends, wine, food — and everyone acutely aware of where Max is at all times. If any of us lets our guard down, he’ll clear an appetizer platter or someone’s plate and be gone, usually to his crate because he knows what’s coming. I can laugh about it now but, at the time, it is hardly a laughing matter — although my guests all think it’s hilarious.

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  4. Oooooo, I’ve cooked whole cheeses many times, but this sounds even better than my miserly add a few peppercorns / some olive oil / garlic / white wine method! A real party dish and perfect for a trip to the Alps this winter 🙂

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    • That’s right. You’ll be heading to the Alps! Well, either one of these would go well after a day on the slopes. Add a roaring fire and a glass of wine and Life doesn’t get much better!

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  5. Wow! I don’t know which one to choose… I love caramelized onions, I love brie and… Yes, I love raspberry jam 😉
    These two are going straight to my recipe box (with your blessing I hope).
    Thanks for sharing and good luck with Max…

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    • Either preparation is good, Giovanna, and you’re guests will enjoy them both. I never have any leftovers, no matter how much I prepare, when I serve baked brie. As for Max, well, let’s just say that he makes life mighty interesting, to be sure!

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  6. Wait did you make those leaves? I know someone who will be jealous of your skill, seriously. I mean they’re not nearly as pretty as yours Katherine, oh darn. I better get out of here. …. Seriously, everything looks fantastic. Love the onion marmalade idea.

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    • Thanks, Greg. Only to keep peace in your home, I will come clean. Those leaves are made by a press that was a close-out item bought from Williams-Sonoma, I believe. If I could make leaves that look half as good as Katherine’s I’d be happy. As it is, I struggle with the press.

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    • I’m a brie lover, too! Max and his litter mates were rescued from a kill shelter when he was just weeks old. He was to only grow to be about 40 lbs and be relatively short. He is well over twice his predicted height and weighs 75 lbs!!! He is the largest dog I’ve ever owned and by far the most, um, “adventurous.” His antics are legendary among my friends & family and despite everything, I wouldn’t trade him for the World. Yes, he did choose the perfect home.

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  7. I love your idea of having both a sweet and savory brie. I could stand next to the table and guard them both from Max for you…but then you would need to have someone guard them from me. They both sound delicious.

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    • Thanks, Karen, for your kind words and generous offer. I could never ask just 1 person to guard the food. We — my guests and I — all share the responsibility and, even then, it’s a losing proposition. Before the night is over, Max will manage to get something, one way or another. Lucky for me — and Max — virtually all of my friends have dogs and are most understanding. Whew!

      Like

  8. You had me laughing at the Max Chart before I read a single word…I realized last night how much life changed around here when we lost Chloe. I came home late, and Hubby had gone to bed and left a half-eaten slice of pizza on the counter. Sweet Cleo was sitting and staring at it, but it was still there…

    Love the baked brie, and as a sucker for caramelized onions, that’d be my vote!

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    • Chloe and Max could have been litter mates in an earlier life. I once ordered a pizza and placed it, in the box, on the back of my stove while I ate in another room. When I came back and opened the box, Max had licked all of the toppings off of the crust. He is, quite literally, something else! Oh! Yes, caramelized onions are great here — and just about anywhere else. I, too, love ’em!

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  9. AAAHH> CHEESE! Now you have my attention, Max and i would have a shoving match for the left overs. But even I am not brave enough to reach up to the stove top. This I will make when i cook for my californian family .FOR SURE. We are only a small family so I will have to decide which one, now I have to go back and make a shopping list, It is hard to cook in someone else’s kitchen.. So I always make a good list. Did Max draw that graph? He is an optimistic chappie!! c

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    • With you, Max finally might have met his match. Even so, if you’re at the table, Max will probably just turn his attention to some other, less formidable, guest and snatch something off their plate when they’re not looking. One way or another, he will eat something. Your family will love either brie; both are really tasty. I’m with you, though. My fave is the caramelized onions. And with no puff pastry to fool with, it is the easier of the 2 to prepare — once you get the onions caramelized. I hope you, and your family, enjoy it!

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    • Melted brie and caramelized onions. I’m warning you, Celi, it’s addictive. Be sure to garnish the brie with chopped fresh herbs — in this case it was rosemary — just before serving. The heat makes the herbs more fragrant and gives the brie a nice aroma, as if it wasn’t enticing enough already! Safe travels!

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  10. Probably not a good thing to confess, but somewhat like Max, I could live off of appetizers! He has a refined palate, that doggie. Both these recipes look great, but I can’t wait to try out the savory caramelized onion and rosemary brie. I know it will be terrific. Love your clever chart, too!

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    • The savory brie is my favorite, too, and it looks like most commenters woud agree. Then again, how can you go wrong with caramelized onions? That chart is the result of pain-staking research, conducted during countless dinner parties and soirées. With Max around, the only food that is “safe” is that which is on your plate directly in front of you. Everything else is fair game, in his mind, and he will do his best to snatch some. Say what you will about my dog, the one thing he is is consistent.

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  11. So funny your graph! Luna and Alfi would double the odds on getting tit bits…two sets of soulful eyes, two little open mouths and rolling tongues, two wagging tails. We don´t stand a chance! Ok, so now to the gorgeous brie (I love cheese and I particularly love soft, squidgy French cheeses). Thought I´d go for the savoury version, but have now decided that I´ll start with the savoury and have the sweet as a dessert/cheese board combo at the end of the meal. Becuase, clearly, I´ll still have some space for that after the pasta and turkey 🙂

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    • Hello, Chris! Well, with Luna, Alfi, and Max at the party, we might as well make 2 of everything. 1 for them and the other for us. Your pasta & turkey comment gave me a good laugh. What’s a little brie before and after a meal that includes pasta & turkey? Oh! Don’t forget the chestnuts (castagne) for everyone at the table sipping wine. It’s a wonder any of us could get up from that table!

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  12. Hello, my name is Chris…………….(heavy admitting sigh)……..and I am a brie virgin. The photos look so good I want to lick my laptop screen. Maybe my supplier at the Bartolini Kitchens could have some “fall off the truck” here at my place.

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    • Brie is not on the Bartolini kitchens’ delivery menu, sorry to say. We are willing to conduct a training class, if you like. Max is most anxious to see what you’ve done to your place since his last visit.

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      • (choking on your reply)…what I’ve done to my place? After my ordeal last week with the “Adventures of Babysitting Cujo” ? Well, at least Max went to Sunnybrook Farms’ Charm School…maybe I could put a chef hat and “Kiss The Cook” apron on him.

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  13. Oh John, I’m sitting in the African Room in our ryad in Marrakech and actually laughed out loud – that graph is hilarious! The brie’s look delicious, I wish I was your Neighbour too (and Greg and Katherine’s ’cause they have a lot of cocktail recipes)!

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    • Eva, after the day you had yesterday, I’m glad I was able to give you something to smile & laugh about! Can you imagine if we all lived on the same street? What a pot-luck dinner we could make every Sunday! We’d all be on diets within 3 months! Have a wonderful day today!

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  14. I see Sadie and Max would get along quite well working in a pair as one knocks down something from the stove to distract everyone while the other pulls down a whole turkey. Sadie totally approves of Max’s style but her owner thinks that these dogs have us in appropriately beat. The Dog Whisperer would disapprove wholeheartedly.

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    • I think we should do all in our power to keep Sadie and Max as far apart as possible. Mankind would never forgive us if we allowed them to meet and conspire. For all the trouble he gives me — and he has been a handful at times — I wouldn’t trade him for the World and I’m positive you feel the same about your Sadie. Nice, isn’t it?

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  15. My mouth is watering right now…seriously. This sounds so delicious! Brie is by far one of my favorite cheeses. In fact, I had a chicken, apple, walnut and brie panini for lunch today. Can’t get enough! This looks like it would be a fantastic appetizer to serve on Thanksgiving. I dunno if I’d want to share though. 🙂

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    • I, too, love brie, Caroline. It’s just a shame that you can’t sneak a taste of either of these preparations without leaving a tell-tale sign. We’re not alone. I’ve never had any left-over brie when I’ve served it. Everyone seems to love it — or I have 1 or 2 friends that are quite piggish. 😉

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  17. All these brie fans (and we’re not even talkin’ about those desperate girls on Wisteria Lane). Since I have never had this popular treat, I will make it a goal to make this sometime before the year’s end. I’ll probably start with the sweet one.

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  18. I am in love with Brie but I have never baked it..
    The sweet version with sauted apples and walnuts sounds irresistable! and the savory one is going on my must try list
    Thank you for the recipe, I honestly don’t blame Max..I mean with all the temptations you put on the table or (on the stove top!) how can the poor chap resist?!

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    • You surprise me, Sawsan. With all of the wonderful dishes you prepare, I would expect you to have 4 or 5 baked brie recipes up your sleeve. Well, if you love brie, you must try some baked! That “poor chap” is taking advantage of your kind-heartedness! One day I should write an entry of some of his most infamous food capers. He just cannot be trust when there’s food around, no matter whether it is a piece of bread a baked ham., or anything in-between.

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