Brie en croûte

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This just happened in my kitchen.

There are no words. I will not even attempt at writing a post befitting of this recipe. I will just tell you how to make it yourselves, and know that, if I should do nothing else at all, I will have left the world a tiny bit better than I found it.

We should all worry less about what others do, do more of what makes us happy, and eat more cheese.


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(This picture… I know, NOT sexy. But I found it impossible to capture the oozing molten cheese flood in a sexy way, when all I wanted was to bury my face in it)

One year ago on May the Cheese Be With You: Provolone Salad

Other Brie recipes: Baked Cherry Brie Bites, Chips del Diamant, Strawberry Almond Brie Salad

Brie en croûte

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Servings: 1, if it were up to me. Probably more like 4, though, or 8, depending of the size of your brie round

Prep time: 45 minutes

You will need:

  • 1 Brie round
  • 1 sheet of round puff pastry, large enough to cover the entire brie round
  • 3/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, cut up into little chunks (more if using a large brie round)
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 egg + 1 tablespoon water, beat together
  • apples, crackers, veggies or any other dip-able fare you can come up with

Brie en croûte 1

To begin with, roll out the puff pastry sheet onto a flat surface and place your little brie round right in the middle.

Brie en croûte 4

In a small bowl, mix the tomatoes with the thyme.

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Spoon (in my case, more like heap) the mixture onto the brie round, as well as around the sides.

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Then gather the pastry up to create a little pouch, and cinch it shut. You can also get creative and make nice variations and spectacular designs.

But I am lazy. I hereby officially extend the invitation to be lazy with me.

It will taste the same. Promise.

Now brush the puff pastry pouch with the egg wash, the place in a medium oven for about 20 – 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

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Allow it to cool for a bit before digging in, or, you know, blistering pain.

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Serve with the crackers, apple slices et al.

Enjoy. 🙂

Clara

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Baked Cherry Brie Bites

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As is probably the case with most of you, I am in full post-Christmas hangover mode. I’ve had about 10 large family meals in the last week, and still have a few to go. Christmas season doesn’t end until January 7 over here, so I have to save my strength. No, seriously, we take our German, American and Catalan Christmas and New Year’s traditions very seriously.

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That’s why today’s recipe is fast and easy, but no less good and cheesy. I served these on New Year’s Eve, and they were a hit. They’ll work as an appetizer, or even as dessert. They’ll save your life if you need to serve something nice, quick and with little to no fuss. You can use any type of jam, and even a different type of creamy cheese (Camembert and raspberry jam, anyone?). Personally, I’ll use more cheese and less jam next time, but, you know, whatever rocks your boat.

For more bite-sized appetiser, check out these recipes:

Veggi Mozzarella Turnovers

Feta Bites

Or if it’s Brie you crave, we have more recipes here:

Chips del Diamant

Strawberry-Almond-Brie Salad

Now let’s get straight down to business.

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Baked Cherry Brie Bites

Inspiration snatched from the wonderful Joy the Baker.

Servings: depends on size

Prep time: 10 minutes, plus another 10 minutes baking time

You will need:

  • Brie cheese
  • cherry jam
  • two sheets of puff pastry (preferably rectangular)
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten

Preheat your oven to medium-high.

Place one puff pastry sheet on top of the other, and cut through both to form squares or rectangles. The size is entirely up to you, although the smaller ones are usually more popular. I recommend rectangular puff pastry sheets because you will end up with less, or actually no, leftover bits and pieces.

Separate the matching squares or rectangles.

Cherry Brie Bites-side

 

Next, cut your Brie into piece that fit into the centre of your squares or rectangles, but still allow for some space around it to crimp the edges shut.

Cherry Brie Bites 9

Add a dollop of jam on top of the cheese…

Cherry Brie Bites 7

 

…and cover with the matching puff pastry square or rectangles. Crimp the edges with a fork, pressing down tightly to seal the edges.

Cherry Brie Bites 3

Here’s the process again:

Cherry Brie Bites 6

 

You’ll notice I used very small pieces of cheese.

I won’t be making that mistake again.

Finally, paint the tops of the Brie Bites with the egg.

Cherry Brie Bites 5

 

Place in the oven and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the tops are nicely browned.

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Enjoy!

Clara

Chips del Diamant

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There is one ingredient we have sadly neglected to feature in this blog, and I believe it is high time we did. Like, way beyond time. Queen of her kind, mistress of versatility (versatileness? Am I making these up?), and, let’s face it, deserving of a whole food category all to herself. I am talking, of course, of the potato chip. And in case you were wondering, yes, she is a girl. Nay, not a girl, a goddess. An ancient fertility goddess. Those would be the chubby, stone age ones. I was totally born in the wrong age.

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Also, I am completely, utterly, undeniably, incontestably, irrefutably, redundantly addicted to them.

Which is why I never buy any. You see, when I do, I quite forcibly tear open the bag, bury my head in it, and keep munching until it comes out the other end. I then proceed to wear the empty bag around my neck like a hunting trophy. Eating potato chips brings out my inner caveman. My primitive, hairy inner caveman. For all these reasons, I don’t often eat potato chips, but when I do, I do so in a horrifyingly violent manner.

Consequently, only one thing remains to be done: create the mystical bridge between worlds, unleashing a magic of unspeakable power. This is what alchemists hunter after for centuries on end. This is what they were really doing on Atlantis. This is the missing link in the evolutionary theory of cooking. What am I saying? This is the crowining glory of culinary evolution.

I give you, potato chips and cheese.

Let me rephrase that.

Airy, crispy, salty potato chips, and creamy, melty brie. And just in case this isn’t enough to have ya’ll drooling all over your keyboard as you read, we’ve added a finishing flourish of olive tapenade.

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One last confession before we delve into the depths of this magnificent appetizer: I am not, sadly, the inventor of this brilliant combination. This is a copycat version of a dish they serve at a lovely little place at the heart of my favourite ‘hood in town. They have no webpage, but you can find them here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Caf%C3%A8-Restaurant-Diamant/135003486558228.

Now get yourself in the kitchen and start cooking. I promise you won’t regret it.

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Chips del Diamant

Servings: 4

Prep time: 30 minutes

You will need:

  • 1 bag of your favourite neutral potato chips
  • 200 gr Brie, sliced, and cut into large squares (it is best to slice the cheese when just out of the fridge, as it tends to get sticky)
  • 1 jar olive tapenade
  • pepper, optional

We’ll start with the chips.

Chips del Diamant 1

Wait, wait, here is another picture. They’re just so pretty.

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Olive tapenade, on the other hand, does not photohraph well. Not at all. It looks disgusting, no matter what you do. But it isn’t. Do not be fooled. It looks like a little bird regurgitated it onto the spoon, but it tastes like the very essence of the Mediterranean, blended to perfection.

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And then there’s Brie. Brie is a total babe. Brie is ridiculously photogenic.

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Now, to the actual recipe.

First, you place a layer of potato chips on an oven-safe platter. Then you top that with a layer of cheese.

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Now sprinkle some olive tapenade over the cheese, then repeat the procedure: Potatoes, cheese…

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…and tapenade. Here you can see the first and second layers:

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Now, you can repeat this as often as you like, but I found that two layers did just fine.

If you’d like to add a little extra kick, you can sprinkle some freshly ground pepper over the whole creation at this point.

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Finally, place the platter in a preheated oven (on high) and leave in until the cheese is nice and melty and the chips begin to brown just a little bit around the edges.

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I am toying with the thought of turning this whole dish into a dip for potato chips… I’ll get back to you on that. Pinky promise.

These taste best when still warm, but not too hot.

Enjoy!

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Strawberry-Almond-Brie Salad

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I got yelled after on the street again today. It happens from time to time, due to the fact that I am the limit of pale approaching infinity, and have a light-bulb-blonde head, and happen to live in a country full of gorgeous, olive-skinned, jet-black-haired people. Beautiful though they be, the yelling is usually quite crude, and, being the delicate English rose that I am, I would never respond to such demeaning behavior. I am a lady, not a dog. Also, never underestimate the seductive power of a decent vocabulary.

So, today, I managed to stop a white van full of men mid-catcall by shoving a big powdery donut into my mouth, then smiling with my mouth full. I admit my level of weirdness is above the national average, but I’m comfortable with that. The look on their faces was gold, I’m telling ya. I laughed all the way home. Well, technically, I laughed for about 5 minutes, then choked on my mouthful of donut, then coughed all the way home, having turned a most graceful shade of puce. Delicate English rose, indeed.

Anyway, the reason I was walking down the street where I met the ill-fated white van in the first place, is because the sun was shining, and there was a slight scent on the morning breeze – I could swear it hailed the advent of spring. Ah, the mystique! Yes, well, that, and I had eaten half a dozen donuts for breakfast and kind of felt like I needed to walk it off.

So thank your lucky stars for my donut overdose, and the fact that, after the aforementioned catcall/choking incident, I had this nagging feeling that I really ought to regain my lady-like demeanor: they led to the creation of this salad. Plus I had a bowl-ful of strawberries in my fridge. Because, guess what? Spring is around the corner, and strawberries are spring’s most exhuberant shout of joy. Let us therefore stuff our faces with them while they last.

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Strawberry-Almond-Brie Salad

Servings: varies, depending on how much salad you eat

Prep time: 15 minutes tops

  • Dark leafy salad greens, such as baby greens and/or arugula
  • Strawberries, quartered lengthwise (see pic)
  • Brie, cut into cubes
  • Almonds, roasted and salted
  • Olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper, to taste

This recipe is really quite straightforward. Basically, toss all ingredients together. Eat. Repeat. The green-to-yummy-stuff-ratio is entirely up to you. If you love your greens, go heavy on the leaves and light on the rest. Then say baaah. If you are nuts about the nuts (pardon the pun), go ahead and throw in the whole bag. If you are a true cheese lover, then welcome to our community. The initiation ritual is this Sunday. Don’t be late.

A few hints before you start:

Make sure you Brie is nice and cool until right before you cut it up, or it’ll come apart when you cut.

Also, you definitely want to use salted almonds, our you’ll end up with a salad that tastes like dessert. Not a problem, I know, but still. It’s a salad. If you’re no fan of big chunks in your salad, feel free to chop up the almonds and sprinkle them on top before you serve.

And last but not least, I believe this tastes best with just a drizzle of olive oil and vinegar, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. That way the different textures can really shine. But feel free to mix in any vinaigrette you like. I would steer clear of cream- or yogurt-based dressings, though, as the Brie is already very creamy.

And that’s all, folks. Simple, easy, delicious. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did 🙂

Strawberry-Almond-Brie-Salad