Why It Works
- Pairing the creamy cheese with a combination of tart and sweet gives it the ideal flavor balance.
- Adding a puff pastry crust is an easy way to create an impressive party appetizer.
- Triple-cream cheese gives you the best gooey melt.
Kick off any party with a seasonally dressed baked brie. Whether wrapped in pastry or not, some fruit, jam, honey, or nuts can turn an average cheese into something special.
This baked brie with thyme and fig jam gives lots of details on selecting the perfect cheese. Another version, brie with honey and pistachios, is the simplest, forgoing the pastry shell. You don’t need a fancy brie for any of these recipes, any bloomy rind cheese will do, preferably a high-fat triple-cream version.
This rendition is also baked in puff pastry, but we add a layer of sweet, spiced homemade apple and pear compote.
For this version, you'll need to slice the wheel in half horizontally, then spread the filling between the two halves as well as on top, creating a higher ratio of jam to cheese, which works well with a milder compote like this one. Then simply shove it in the oven and bake until the pastry is crisp and golden and the cheese is melted—no need to reinvent the wheel here. (Sorry.)
Baked Brie Done Right
1 tablespoon (15g) unsalted butter
1 apple, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 pear, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/4 cup (60g) sugar
1 small cinnamon stick (or 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon)
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
One (6- to 8-ounce; 170 to 225g) round brie, camembert, or other soft-ripened cheese, slightly chilled (see notes)
All-purpose flour, for dusting
10-inch square puff pastry dough, kept cold, rolled out to 1/4-inch thickness
1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon (15ml) water
Preheat a medium saucepan over medium heat, add butter, and swirl until melted. Add apple and pear and cook, stirring occasionally, until fruit is tender and has released most of its liquid, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in sugar, cinnamon stick or ground cinnamon, ginger, and cardamom and cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated, 12 to 15 minutes longer. Discard cinnamon stick, if used. Remove from heat and let compote cool to room temperature.
Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Using a sharp knife, cut cheese in half horizontally (through the middle). Lay one half on a work surface, cut side up, and spread 3 tablespoons (45ml) of compote evenly over it. Place second half on top and spread another 3 tablespoons (45ml) compote over it.
Place puff pastry on a lightly floured work surface and roll to an even 1/4-inch thickness. Set prepared cheese in center of square, fold dough up and over, and pleat it together on top to enclose cheese. Gently pinch dough together in center to seal gathered pleats. You can tie a bit of kitchen twine on top to hold pleats together if you like, but this is not essential. If dough is no longer cold, chill wrapped cheese for at least 20 minutes. (Cheese can be wrapped tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerated until ready to bake.)
Set prepared cheese wheel on prepared baking sheet. Brush dough evenly with egg wash. Bake until pastry is crisp and golden brown all over, 25 to 35 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes, then transfer to a platter. Serve any remaining compote alongside.
Rimmed baking sheet, parchment paper, rolling pin, pastry brush, kitchen twine (optional)
If possible, use a triple-cream bloomy rind cheese, which has a higher fat content than a double-cream cheese and melts better.
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Servings: 6 to 8|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 19g||24%|
|Saturated Fat 6g||32%|
|Total Carbohydrate 26g||9%|
|Dietary Fiber 1g||5%|
|Total Sugars 11g|
|Vitamin C 1mg||7%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|