Brie en croûte

Brie en croûte 11

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

Brie en croûte 10

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

Baked Cherry Brie Bites

Cherry Brie Bites 14

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.

Cherry Brie Bites 8

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

Apple Cheese Danish

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I am not, on a general note, a person who is easily embarrassed. I have been known to skip down the busiest street in town, flapping my arms, bird-like, at the hint of Christmas in the air. It is not at all uncommon for me to wait for the doors to close on crowded elevators to ask: “You must be wondering why I have gathered you here”, or to wind up in a ball on the floor in reaction to the loudspeakers at the grocery store, moaning “The voices! The voices are back!” In a nutshell, doing a lot of things that seemed like a good idea at the time… but weren’t.

Good times.

But I draw the line at singing. I do not sing. I have sung, on occasion, but only under duress, and after at least two human sacrifices, and half a bottle of vodka. And trust me when I tell you, it’s for your own good. “Oh, it can’t be that bad”, you must be thinking. “She’s being modest”, you might add. Oh, how I wish I was. I forgot myself the other day and began singing in the shower, and now feel solely responsible for two hurricanes, an earthquake, and the near-extinction of the red-barbed ant.

But – it’s Christmas, and everybody seems to expect me to go a-carolin’ around. I’ve politely declined so often I’ve started to go with “bah, humbug” to speed things up.

Over the years, I’ve learned a profound and enlightening truth: People don’t like other people who “bah,  humbug” more than strictly necessary. However, people do like other people who make scrumptious treats.

So I make scrumptious treats. And share them on the Internet to spread the Christmas cheer.

And, my friends, this definitely falls into the category of scrumptious, Christmas-cheer-spreading breakfast treats that make people really like you.

Like, really.

Apple Cheese Danish 16

Apple Cheese Danish

Adapted from the scrumptious Live Laugh Rowe.

Servings: 8

Prep time: 1 hour

You will need:

  • 4 or 5 apples, peeled and sliced
  • 2 sheets of puff pastry (any shape, really, but they should match)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup (250gr) sugar, separated
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon, separated
  • a good pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoons caramel sauce of choice
  • 1 cup cream cheese
  • 1 egg
  • Milk

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First off, place one sheet of puff pastry on a baking sheet lined with baking paper. Bake in a medium oven for about 10 minutes, or until golden. Set aside.

Apple Cheese Danish 1

Place apples and butter in a large pan and cook until beginning to brown.

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At this point, add ½ cup of sugar, the flour, ½ teaspoon cinnamon and the nutmeg, and stir to mix.

Apple Cheese Danish 2

Add caramel and stir again.

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Cook for a few more minutes to caramelize a bit, then set aside.

Apple Cheese Danish 4

Beat the cream cheese with the remaining ½ cup of sugar and the egg.

Apple Cheese Danish 5

Allowing for some space along the edges, spread the cream cheese mixture over the baked puff pastry, taking care not to break through the surface. Spoon the apple mixture over that, distributing evenly.

Eat any stray apples straight out of the pan. Go ahead, it’s fruit, it’s good for you.

Apple Cheese Danish 3-horz

Top with the second sheet of puff pastry and seal off the edges by pressing them together, or even folding them over a bit.

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Brush with a bit of milk, cut 5 or 6 small vents and sprinkle with sugar and the remaining cinnamon.

Bake 30 to 40 minutes, until a deep golden brown (I might’ve overdone it a wee bit here…). While this is baking, kick back into your couch and enjoy the heavenly smell wafting from your oven.

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Cool for a bit, carefully cut into triangles and enjoy it hot out of the oven, or completely cooled the next day. If you can even wait that long.

Enjoy!

Clara

Apple Cheese Danish 17

Parmesan Poppy Seed Twists

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Si una cosa bona té la primavera és que és l’època perfecta per a fer excursions. Ja no fa fred, així que no et cal carregar deu mil peces d’abric i complements protectors diversos a la motxilla, però encara no fa la calor matadora de l’estiu, que et deixa escalivat al primer revolt (però no us deixeu enganyar per l’airet i la relativa falta de calor! El sol ja és fort, així que poseu-vos crema solar d’aquella hardcore 50+ com si fóssiu a ple mes d’agost si no voleu acabar com jo: sent una autèntica gamba de muntanya).

M’agrada caminar aquests dies perquè a primera hora del matí encara fa una fresqueta que és molt benvinguda en els trams de pujada inicials, i la calor calor, la que pica, és només al migdia, quan, si t’ho has muntat bé, ja pots estar de baixada. A més, els camps estan florits i és tot com molt bucòlic i romàntic (fins que t’adones que la remor de fons que fa estona que sents és en realitat el brunzit dels centenars d’abelles que poblen els matolls de romaní que t’envolten en la part més estreta del camí, moment en què maleeixes la primavera amb tot el seu esplendor i desitjaries tornar a ser al mes de gener, quan aquests animalons estan reposant als seus nius i pots empotrar-te tranquil·lament contra totes les plantes que et trobis pel camí sense por de ser picat per cap ésser malèfic).

Sí, això de llevar-se ben d’hora ben d’hora i agafar un entrepà i una cantimplora (i la crema, feu-me cas!), calçar-se les botes i anar a gaudir de la natura és molt bonic, però encara ho és més si quan arribes a casa t’espera una dutxa, una ampolla de litre d’after sun i una nit de barbacoa i mojitos amb amics.

Doncs bé, d’aquí neix la recepta que avui us proposo, de l’aperitiu d’una d’aquestes barbacoes nocturnes primaverals. És molt senzilla, molt ràpida i molt fàcilment multiplicable, característica especialment interessant si, com jo, després de la caminada sentiu que us menjaríeu un búfal.

Endavant! Camineu molt, feu moltes barbacoes amb els vostres amics (i amb els corresponents mojitos, això que no falti) i gaudiu del que queda de la Setmana Santa!!

Parmesan Poppy Seed Twists 3

Parmesan Poppy Seed Twists

Servings: it depends on the size of your puff pastry sheet

Prep time: 20 min

You will need:

  • Puff pastry
  • Parmesan cheese, grated
  • Poppy seeds
  • Salt (I used a herb salt, but it’s really up to you)
  • 1 egg

Start by preheating your oven to about 200ºC and line a baking sheet with baking paper. Clean a large surface (or the only unoccupied surface in your kitchen if your house is as caotic as mine)  and sprinkle some flour on it to prevent the dough from sticking. Then grab the puff pastry and roll it out as thin as you can, making sure to maintain the initial square shape.

Now, prepare your parmesan cheese and poppy seeds, beat the egg and get ready to party!

Parmesan Poppy Seed Twists 2

 Using a cooking brush, paint all your puff pastry with the beaten egg (here you can have a Da Vinci moment if you need to, or you can simply cover all the dough with no extra imagination). Make sure the entire surface is nice and sticky, if not, we will irreversibly lose the cheese!

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 Sprinkle the cheese, poppy seeds and salt over the puff pastry.

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 Now, my secret (and essential) step: fix all the ingredients with the rolling pin by pressing it gently over the pastry. If not, part of the cheese and seeds will fall off during the baking phase and we’ll only get some sad, half-heartedly cheesy breadsticks. And trust me when I tell you, no one wants sad, half-heartedly cheese breadsticks.  People want full on hardcore death-by-cheese breadsticks. That is what people want.

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 Cut the puff pastry into 2 cm wide strips using a pizza cutter or a sharp knife. Take each strip with both hands, twist it gracefully, artistically, or otherwise whimsically and place it on the baking sheet.

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 Bake it for about 7 minutes, or until golden brown. You can eat them warm or cool, or you can do what I did and eat them both warm and cool because you wanted to allow them to cool for a while but then the temptation was too strong for your weak soul to resist. And who wants to resist temptation anyway?

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 Enjoy!