If you are looking for an easy and delicious appetizer or snack, the baked brie is your answer. With a crusty outside and melty inside, this dish will fulfill your cheesey cravings. There is also a minimal amount of prep work and can be prepared in advance.
- 6-8 inch wheel of brie
- 4 tablespoons fig preserves
- 1/3 cup sliced almonds
- 2 eggs
- 1 package puff pastry
Most importantly, make sure you defrost the puff pastry overnight the night before you want to prepare the brie. You can not defrost it at room temperature as this will change the way the puff pastry will bake. It is hard to find a good tasting brie that is inexpensive as a whole wheel. I was able to find a 7 inch wheel of brie at Whole Foods for about $18, which worked very well for this recipe. Most cheese sections in grocery stores will allow you to taste the cheeses, especially if you are buying a whole wheel. Picking a brie on the mild side will work best, since you are adding more flavor to the cheese with the fig and almonds.
The brie can be prepared up to two days before you will serve it and can be stored sealed in the fridge. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. First, toast the almonds on medium heat in a small non stick pan for about 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and pour into a bowl when they begin to smell and look toasted. If they start to burn quickly remove from heat, transfer to a bowl and put in the fridge to cool quickly. Next, flour your working surface and both sides of the puff pastry. Roll out the puff pastry with a rolling pin so that it is able to wrap entirely around the whole wheel of brie. Then, slice the brie through the center to separate the top from the bottom. Spread the fig preserves on each of the halves and sprinkle the bottom half with the toasted almonds. Re-stack the top part of the wheel onto the bottom and press firmly to ensure that it sticks.
Prepare the egg wash by beating the eggs in a small bowl. Place the brie on the puff pastry and brush the top of it lightly with the egg wash. Fold in the corners and seal all of the edges by brushing with the egg wash and smoothing them out. Poke a couple of holes in the top of the Brie. Bake the Brie with the seam side down for 30 minutes at 375 degrees either on a cookie sheet with parchment paper or in a pie dish if it fits. Then lower the heat to 320 and bake for another 20 minutes. The top should be golden brown and the puff pastry should expand.
When the timer goes off, remove the Brie from the oven and allow to rest for about five minutes. Slice with a pie server and enjoy on its own or with crackers.
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