Baked Brie with Apricot Jam and Pecans
The best made plans don’t always work out (as planned). One example was my plan to serve Butternut Bisque in small cups as an appetizer prior to our Thanksgiving meal. The guests arrived late, the dinner was ready too soon, etc, etc, etc. So to stave off the hungers while I got the last minute details ready, I quickly put together this appetizer that I have had at other peoples’ homes but never made myself. No problem, it’s so easy you don’t really need a recipe, and everyone seems to like it.
The only real requirement is a piece or wheel of brie cheese. Everything else can be a mix and match with whatever you have on hand.
Here’s what you need and how to put it together:
- A mini wheel of Brie–about 8 ounces. I used only half a wheel to make a small amount.
- 2-3 Tablespoons of jam. Apricot is a good match with Brie, also Fig jam is good.
- 2 Tablespoons chopped pecans or other nuts of choice.
- 1 -2 Granny Smith apples, cored and thinly sliced into wedges.
- small crackers, whole grain or nut crisps work well.
1. Place Brie into a small, greased oven proof dish. Spoon jam on top.
Brie in a baking dish with jam spooned on top, ready to be baked.
Bake in a 350 degrees oven about 10-15 minutes, until cheese is oozy and jam is melting. Remove from oven. Sprinkle nuts over the top.
2. Place the cheese dish on a larger plate or tray and arrange crackers and apple wedges around it. To eat just dip the apples and/or crackers into the cheese mixture and enjoy.
Blue Cheese does not sit very high on my list of favorite foods; in fact, honestly, its not on my list at all. One day, however, I was browsing thru a magazine ( don’t remember which one), when I came across this recipe for Blue Cheese Cookies with Strawberry Jam. The idea of a strong-flavored “savory” combined with a “sweet” intrigued me, and so I cut out the recipe thinking it would be good for a reception or cocktail party. It has been simmering on the back burner of my mind for some time, waiting for the right opportunity. Since this has been a week devoted to berry recipes, I thought it would be a good opportunity to try it out.
If you are entertaining and looking for something different to serve your guests, this just may be it. The cookies are pretty, and with the addition of jam quite tasty, but I must admit I have not become a convert to blue cheese because of them. However for folks who really like blue cheese, this is a unique way to enjoy it.
I will also tell you in advance that this recipe is not one you can whip up quickly, as there are several steps involved. I got a total of 48 single cookies, which when sandwiched together with the jam will make 24 cookies. The recipe recommends a 2-inch cookie cutter and that is what I used.
WHAT YOU NEED:
- 2 cups crumbled blue cheese
- 1 1/2 sticks ( 3/4 cup ) unsalted butter, softened
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup strawberry preserves (at room temperature).
WHAT YOU DO:
- In the work bowl of a food processor, combine blue cheese and butter; process until creamy. Add flour, sugar, cornstarch, and salt; pulse until dough comes together. Form dough into a ball; flatten into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut out shapes using a 2-inch flower-shaped cutter. Cut out centers of half of the cookies with a small fluted cutter. Place on prepared baking sheets, and bake for 15 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool on pans for 5 minutes. Remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks. Spread about 1 teaspoon preserves over flat side of each whole cookie. Top each with flat side of cutout cookie. Store in airtight containers. Note: I found that the cookies will stay crispier if you wait to fill them until shortly before serving.
A final note about these cookies: They are not sweet as you would expect a “cookie” to be, so in that sense the name is deceiving. Also the fancy shape leads you to expect a cookie. If I make these again, I would cut them in a plain round shape or a square so they resemble a cracker, and then the flavor of blue cheese would not be a surprise. Those who have tried them agree with me that they would be very nice on a buffet table with other finger foods, and where cocktails are being served. Thanks to my primary “taste-tester” for that in-put.