Monday, December 22, 2008

Baked Brie en Croûte

I've said it before and I'll say it again...the only thing better than cheese is hot cheese.

We had an early Christmas celebration with our families and among other cheesy/porky delights, I made my go-to appetizer - Baked Brie en Croûte. The recipe is alarmingly simple, plus you can prep it in advance. I highly recommend adding it to your repetoire as well.

Baked Brie en Croûte
One 9-by-9 1/2-inch sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 large egg, lightly beaten
One 8-16 ounce wheel firm Brie cheese
1/4 cup apricot preserves

1. Roll the puff pastry into a 12-inch square on a lightly floured counter. Using a pie plate or other round guide, trim the pastry to a 9-inch circle with a paring knife. Brush the edges lightly with the beaten egg. Place the Brie in the center of the pastry circle and wrap it in the pastry (see Note). Brush the exterior of the pastry with beaten egg and transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Freeze for 20 minutes.

2. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 425°F. Bake the cheese until the exterior is a deep golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes.

3. Transfer to a wire rack. Spoon the jelly into the exposed center of the Brie. Cool for about 30 minutes. Serve with crackers or bread.

Note: To wrap the Brie, lift the pastry up over the cheese, pleating it at even intervals and leaving an opening in the center where the Brie will be exposed. Press the pleated edge of pastry up into a rim, which will later be filled with preserves or jelly.

To Make Ahead: You can complete step 1 (but do not freeze) and refrigerated, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, for up to 24 hours. Freeze fr 20 minutes before continuing with step 2.

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