This elegant appetizer is as easy as it is delicious. Creamy brie cheese that is topped with a sugary pecan topping is wrapped in a flaky puff pastry crust. This is a lovely appetizer for guests, holidays, or even just a Friday night.
One of my favorite appetizers to order at a restaurant is baked brie. I love it and I always enjoy it. But all too often it has too much topping, not enough topping, no crust, too much crust. You get the idea.
This elegant appetizer is just the right amount of everything. Enough gooey brie, sweet and warm pecans and the right amount of flaky crust that is kissed with additional honey and even more nuts. It is the correct proportion of sweet, salty, crunchy, and gooey.
HOW DO I PICK A BRIE CHEESE?
Brie cheese is a mild, creamy, and buttery white or pale yellow cheese that is encased in a very thin, papery, edible rind.
Look for rounds that are no more than 1-inch thick. If they are thicker, the cheese could be overripe on the edges and under-ripe in the center.
The cheese should feel firm, but the center will feel springy with some give when you push your finger into it. If its too soft or worse feels watery beneath the rind, it’s overripe. Don’t buy it.
If the brie feels hard, it’s underripe and won’t be flavorful. Keep looking.
Finally, if you are buying a domestic brie at a supermarket, it should smell sweet without any hint of ammonia. However, if you go to a cheese store where the brie is allowed to ‘breathe’ and isn’t wrapped in cellophane, it may have a slight ammonia smell to it and will be perfectly fine to eat. That smell is a byproduct of a ‘bloomy rind’. When I am lucky enough to find this authentic type of brie, I usually like to trim a lot of the rind off of the cheese. I find it too sharp for my taste, but it can be eaten.
CAN I MAKE THIS ELEGANT APPETIZER AHEAD OF TIME?
Yes. There are two ways to do so.
First, you could make the recipe as written, allow to cool completely, then wrap tightly and refrigerate until needed. When ready to eat, rewarm in a 350-degree oven for 5 to 7 minutes.
Or, assemble the cheese, topping and puff pastry. Don’t add the honey glaze or sprinkle of chopped pecans on top of the puff pastry. Cover tightly and refrigerate until needed. When ready, bake as directed.
An elegant appetizer recipe for a brie topped with brown sugar, cinnamon, and pecans, then wrapped in flaky puff pastry and glazed with honey and even more chopped pecans.
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, defrosted and rolled out to a 12×12-inch square
1 tablespoon butter
½ cup + 2 tablespoons chopped pecans, divided
8–10-ounce wheel of brie cheese
2 tablespoons brown sugar
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons honey, divided
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat mat. Set aside.
In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add ½ cup chopped pecans and toast, stirring constantly, until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle in the cinnamon and brown sugar. Stir until the sugar is melted and the pecans are well coated. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Lay the pastry on the prepared baking sheet.
Place the brie in the center of the pastry square.
Spoon the pecan mixture on top of the brie. Spoon 3 tablespoons of honey over the pecan mixture.
Lift the puff pastry around the brie and fold around the cheese. I like doing an accordion pleat fold to get as round a shape as possible.
Gently pinch the edges of the pastry together at the top. Set aside.
In a small bowl, beat together the egg and water. Using a pastry brush brush the edges of the dough and continue to pinch to seal tightly. Give the entire wheel a brush of the egg mixture.
If desired, take a small piece of the dough and pinch or roll into a pastry’rose’ and secure it to the top with the egg wash before baking.
Bake for 15 minutes until the pastry is golden brown.
Remove from the oven and brush with the remaining tablespoon of honey. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of pecans. Return to the oven for another 5 minutes.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes to set.
Serve warm with crackers, sliced bread, and fruit.