I remember the first time I ever had Brie. We were living in Colorado at the time and decided to go on a double date with some new friends to a local cheese shop. We loaded up on wedges of various cheeses, crackers, fruit, salami, and wine and then headed back home to dig in. Most of the cheese we got I had tried before, but my friend Emma declared that we would be making Brie en croute. I was excited. And a little scared.
Little did I know that I would soon be digging into, as the movie Julie and Julia declares, “the most wonderful cheese you’ve ever had in your entire life? Yes. The answer’s yes.”
The answer to Brie, my friends, is always yes!
I have made many versions of Brie en croute in my day, but this one is my favorite thus far. You have the decadent, creamy, perfect Brie cheese, the buttery puff pastry, the browned butter walnuts that all make this dish a thing to celebrate. It can be a tiny too much richness though, until you cut it with the beautifully acidic and slightly sweet cherries. The balsamic vinegar and dried cherries are the things that make this Brie en croute sing, and the necessity of them should not be taken lightly.
Brie en croute is very simple to make, although it will take a little bit of planning ahead. The cherries need time to soak in all that beautiful balsamic vinegar, the butter needs to be browned, the walnuts need to be toasted, and the puff pastry needs to thaw. If you’re like me and don’t enjoy the rind, you can use a serrated knife to gently shave off a little bit of it. Every bit of that can be done the day before you plan on making it, and then the assembly comes together flawlessly. Voila! You’ve created a masterpiece you’ll be excited to share with the ones you love for any possible gathering.
BRIE EN CROUTE WITH BALSAMIC MARINATED CHERRIES AND BROWNED BUTTER WALNUTS
• 1 (8 ounce) wheel of Brie cheese
• 1/2 cup dried cherries
• 1/4 cup De Nigris aged balsamic vinegar de Modena
• 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
• 2 tablespoons butter
• 1 sheet of puff pastry
1. The night before you plan on making the Brie en croute, place the puff pastry on a plate in the refrigerator and cover lightly with plastic wrap.
2. Place the dried cherries in a shallow bowl in a single layer, then pour the balsamic vinegar over them so that all of the cherries are touching the vinegar. Allow to rest at room temperature overnight.
3. Add the butter to a small sauté pan and turn the heat on the medium heat.
4. When the butter has melted, add the walnuts and gently swirl the pan until the butter has turned a light golden brown and is fragrant.
5. Remove from the heat and allow to cool overnight.
6. When ready to assemble the Brie en croute, heat the oven to 375 degrees.
7. Open the thawed puff pastry on a sheet pan covered with parchment paper and gently press the folds together.
8. If you’re shaving off the rind of the Brie, do that now, and then place the Brie in the center of the puff pastry.
9. Drain the cherries and spread them evenly on top of the Brie.
10. Top the cherries with the walnuts.
11. Gently pull the sides of the puff pastry over the Brie, cherries and walnuts, taking care to cover everything. I like to do this in a circular pattern because it’s pretty.
12. Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes until the puff pastry is golden brown.
13. Allow to rest for 2-3 minutes, then serve hot with crackers, sliced apples or simply a fork.
Heather Disarro is a food-centric lifestyle blogger who is passionate about embracing the beauty that surrounds us with in our everyday lives. She is a Texan living the expat life in central Arkansas with her husband, sons and two massive dogs. Heather writes her blog, Heather’s Dish, from an office filled with dust, dog fur, toys and plenty of love, grace and music. She specializes in creating delicious and creatively nourishing recipes. Cooking seasonally and with as many local ingredients as possible is an important component to Heather’s style of food, and she revels in the opportunity to bring the love of cooking to the world as a way to love others well! You can find her on her blog, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ and Instagram.