Tuesday, February 25, 2014

A Month-of-Appetizers: Baked Brie

So sorry to be posting this late. Every year it seems I get behind and lose a day. But no worries. Later today, I’ll put up a second recipe. Wouldn’t want you to be cheated!

I’ve been making a version of baked Brie for decades after a friend served it at her party in the 1970’s. The origin of the recipe is lost in the mists of time, but there are dozens of versions via the Internet these days. Just keep on trying until you find the one you like. (Pick me! Pick me!)

My version for you has cinnamon to kick it up a notch from what the neighbors serve as baked Brie. Also, you might be tempted to just dump on pecans without toasting them. Unh unh. Pecans change flavor with toasting.

So your choice: pedestrian, no toasting; spectacular, toasted pecans. Also, put away the Triscuits and Wheat Thins. You want a cracker that is bland and will not compete with the cheese flavors. You can use day old French bread, too.

As an added benefit this is another one of those two-fer appetizers: the umami taste of cheese and the sweet taste from brown sugar and honey perk up the appetizer party.

Baked Brie

1 small round of Brie (~ 8 ounces give or take)
½ cup pecan pieces
3 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Carr’s Water Crackers (or some other high quality, plain cracker)

Heat oven to 350°. Put a square of parchment paper on a baking sheet and center the Brie on it.  Bake for about 15-20 minutes until oozy to the touch. Remove from oven to the heat-proof serving dish you’ll be using to serve on. Let sit about 20 minutes.

Spread pecans on same baking pan (sans parchment paper) and toast for about 5-10 minutes (until fragrant). Alternatively, toast them in a dry skillet over medium heat, stirring constantly to keep from burning. When fragrant, remove from heat.

Mix brown sugar and honey in a small pan and heat to a boil over medium heat. Let it get foamy (a couple of minutes) and then stir in cinnamon.

Pour evenly over Brie (letting some drip over sides) and sprinkle on the pecans. Serve immediately.

DH’s Rating: 3½ Tongues Up  He doesn’t like his cheese sweetened. Too bad. More for me!

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