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
- 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)
- Place chopped onion and butter into a saucepan over medium heat. Season with salt and pepper and sauté until translucent, about 8 minutes.
- 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.
- Pre-heat oven to 350˚.
- Once deep brown in color, add garlic and sauté for no more than 2 minutes.
- Add about 2 ounces of white wine and sauté until completely reduced.
- Use remaining wine to deglaze the pan and sauté until reduced completely.
- 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.)
- With a large knife, carefully remove the rind from the brie’s top and discard.
- Place cheese in an oven-proof serving dish, cut-side up. Cover the brie with an even layer of caramelized onions.
- Bake in a 350˚ oven until cheese is melted, about 25 to 30 minutes.
- Let stand for 5 minutes. Garnish with remaining rosemary and serve.
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
- 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
- Pre-heat oven to 400˚.
- 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.
- Carefully slice the brie into 2 half-layers.
- 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.
- Evenly cover the jam with the sliced almonds, reserving 1 tbsp for garnish.
- Return top half of brie to the lower half.
- 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.
- 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.
- Brush the exposed surface with egg wash.
- If artistic, use excess pastry to decorate the top.
- 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.
- Once decorated, brush the decorations’ surface with egg wash.
- Place in 400˚ oven and bake until golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes.
- Allow to stand for 20 minutes before moving to a serving tray/platter. Garnish with remaining almond slivers and serve.
I prefer to serve this brie with slices of apple and pear, as well as an assortment of crackers.
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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.
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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