Here’s an easy appetizer that you can serve at parties or small gatherings and is quite the crowd pleaser. Serve with toasted cubes of crusty bread (such as French bread or baguettes), breadsticks or crackers. This treat takes just minutes to make and can be prepared as fancy (or as simple) as you like. Here are five tasty ideas you can try, each easy to make and sure to please.
Before getting started:
- Bake in a lightly greased pie pan, glass oven dish or baking sheet (you can use cooking spray).
- If working with frozen puff pastry, thaw it first and roll it out until it’s about 1/8″ thick. For small rounds of cheese, 1 sheet of pastry should do the trick otherwise use one sheet for the bottom and cover with another sheet (remove excess before baking and seal seams first by pinching them together).
- When working with pastry, wrap gently and don’t stretch too thin so the pastry stays strong when heated and won’t split, oozing out cheese.
- When cutting cheese in half horizontally so you can add a filling, make sure the round is well chilled first.
- For split wheels, the bottom half has the cut side up (and rind side down), spread filling across cut side. When positioning the top half, ensure the rind side is up (cut side down against the filling).
- Ingredient amounts mentioned below are for small rounds of brie (about 8 ounces). Increase amounts as needed for larger wheels.
- Preheat oven to 350°F and heat for approximately 20 minutes (if wrapping in pastry, bake until golden).
Ready to get started? Here are five different ways you can make baked brie…
- Place sheet of puff pastry on top of pie plate then position brie in the center. Wrap cheese with pastry and pinch along seams to seal.
- Brush the pastry (both top and sides) with an egg wash or melted butter.
- Bake at 350°F until pastry is golden brown (approximately 20 minutes).
- Remove from heat and cool 5 minutes before serving.
With Preserves, Marmalade or Pie Filling:
For an extra special treat, cut cheese in half (horizontally) before wrapping in pastry and then add a fruity filling…
- Spread a layer of preserves, pie filling or marmalade such as apricot, peach, grape, cranberries or raspberries across the the cut side of the bottom half of the cheese (about 4 tablespoons per small cheese round).
- Replace top of cheese, wrap in pastry and heat as directed above.
- Another option: Simply cover the top of the cheese (unsliced) with pie filling or preserves and wrap with pastry as noted above.
With A Nutty Center:
- Cut the cheese wheel in half as directed above, this time adding a layer of sliced almonds (or walnut, pecans) across the cheese (bottom half) before topping with the other half of the cheese.
- You’ll need about 3 tablespoons of nuts per small round of cheese.
With Caramelized Onions:
- Saute chopped onion in butter for 15 minutes then sprinkle with brown sugar to caramelize (see this page  for more detailed instructions).
- Pastry wrapped: Place cheese wheel on top of pastry then top with onions, roasted garlic (optional, see directions here ). Pull up pastry on all sides and fold over cheese. Pinch seams closed then brush with melted butter or an egg wash. Heat until pastry is golden brown.
- No pastry: Spread the onions across the top of cheese and heat for about 15 minutes.
With Maple Syrup & Almonds:
- Mix 1 1/2 tablespoons of maple syrup with 2 tablespoons of melted butter (unsalted) and 1/4 cup of toasted almond slices. Spoon mixture over the top of cheese wheel and heat for approximately 15 minutes (at 350°F).