Better than 'Almost Good': Orange, Rosemary and Almond Baked Brie
Every Thanksgiving, one of the kids – mine or the cousins – says we can’t have Thanksgiving without a baked Brie. For many years, since they were very young, the making of the baked Brie was the kids’ job. It was fun for them to spread the praline or preserves on the round of Brie and then wrap it up in puff pastry. And more fun than that was cutting out the shapes of extra dough to stick to the top and make it all pretty. Through the years we’ve seen fall leaves, stars, even “polka-dots,” which were actually small pieces of dough that the kids didn’t feel like cutting so they just rolled in their little hands and stuck to the top of the pastry – maybe you could have called them berries with a little imagination.
This year, though, we didn’t have a baked Brie. I blame it on the trip to New York that we all took the long weekend before Thanksgiving (minus the one in college who didn’t want to miss a thing that might happen there without her). There just wasn’t enough time to do everything, and the Brie was what fell by the wayside. Not that taking that off our list made a great difference: My sister and I agreed that this year’s Thanksgiving lunch was “almost good” – the dressing was a little dry, the green beans were a little goopy, the ham may as well have been ham jerky. So you might say a lot, not just the Brie, fell by the wayside in favor of us spending a few days getting into the holiday spirit on our little family vacation. (It was worth it.)
And after all that, we missed the Brie! So I thought we’d make it, this time when we spend time at my sister’s house over Christmas. I was the one to play with it a little bit this time. Instead of pecan praline or fig preserves, we tried a new orange-rosemary-almond-honey version, which turned out to be just right – sweet, but not too sweet, with a little tartness from the marmalade and a little toasty crunch from the almonds, and, as always, it was deliciously creamy.
Whether you make this version of baked Brie or a concoction of your own this holiday, I wish you a Christmas dinner that is better than “almost good!”
¼ cup orange marmalade
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon honey
8 whole cloves
2 3-inch sprigs fresh rosemary
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
1 8-ounce round Brie
2 tablespoons chopped, toasted almonds
1 egg yolk, beaten
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, and line a sheet pan with parchment. Put the marmalade, water, honey, cloves and rosemary in a small saucepan, and warm over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the marmalade steep for about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, roll out the puff pastry to be just a little bit thinner than its original state. Place the Brie in the center of the pastry. Remove the cloves and rosemary sprigs from the marmalade. Stir the almonds into the marmalade, and spread the mix on top of the Brie. Wrap up the cheese and topping like you would wrap a present – you will probably have to trim some pastry here and there. Tuck in the loose ends at the top and brush the whole top with the egg yolk. Bake the wrapped Brie on the prepared sheet pan for 30-35 minutes, or until the top is browned. Let the baked Brie rest for 10 minutes or so before cutting into it.
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