Every Thanksgiving has it: a basket of rolls, buns, or biscuits. Some kind of cheese, spread, or dip. For one night a year, you can eat these treats and it will hurt you, but not so badly—that is the magic of Thanksgiving, appetite, and America combined. After that, such a meal must be counted as a special treat, and reality kicks in, our minds adapting to health-conscious again. So, for that one night, that one moment, when you get high on thanksgiving supply, you might as well eat a rocking delicious baked brie.
Some people don’t like the strong smell of Brie or Camembert. They are typical from Europe—France to be more specific and they’re made of raw cow’s milk and prepared in a very particular way. Fresh wobbly stinky milk curds are encased in molds and left to ripen in humid conditions. As the cheese ripens, the wheels of cheese are salted and flipped. Many times, the rinds are gritty and bitter (and they can have a certain strong smell too). But there is something interesting about cheese and people who claim not to like it: they love this recipe!
This is exactly the reason why I love to bake brie instead of eating it plain. When you enrobe a cheese (like brie) in puff pastry and bake it, it can be the center of a girl’s night out dinner or a book-club meeting. Take it one step further, cut the cheese in half horizontally, fill it up with caramelized onions and bacon, and then, boom! You have a recipe that is the life of a party, the center of attention, delicious, and oh so tasteful! This recipe is a witness to elaborate skills and boundless passion for cooking. It’s not just perfect for entertaining. The recipe itself is fun to prepare and to eat.
Serves 6 people
2 slices bacon, chopped
1 small white onion, chopped
Kosher salt and freshly group peppers
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed in the fridge per package instructions
All-purpose flour for rolling out the dough
1 egg, lightly beaten
One 9-ounce wheel Brie (or Camembert), sliced in half horizontally
- Cook the bacon in a small skillet over medium heat and allow the fat to render, stirring occasionally for about 2 minutes. Add the onions and reduce the heat to low and let the onion sweat in the bacon fat until it’s totally soft and the bacon is cooked through, and lightly browned, stirring occasionally for about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and remove from the heat. Drain excess fat.
- Preheat the oven to 375. Place the puff pastry on a lightly floured sheet of parchment and use a rolling pin to even out any folds and roll out until it’s about 12 X 12 inches. Brush off any remaining flour, and brush all over with egg. Transfer the parchment and pastry to a baking sheet. Place half of the cheese at the center, cut side up. Spoon the onion bacon mixture and the preserves on top of the Brie, then place the remaining half Brie on top, cut side down. Season generously with salt and pepper.
- Bring the edge of the dough up and over the cheese, working your way around, gently pressing and pinching to seal. Make sure there are no gaps, which could allow the cheese to leak from the puff pastry parcel. Flip the parcel over, brush the top and sides of the parcel with the remaining egg wash and use a knife to puncture a small hole at the center, and to make a design along the top, if you like.
- Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, or until the pastry is cooked through and golden brown all over. Allow to cool on the sheet pan for about 10 minutes. Transfer to a serving plate with crackers or toasts and enjoy.
This recipe was inspired by the New York Times. If you’re looking for more recipes for Thanksgiving, you can find a wonderful recipe for Pecan Pie on my website www.chefleticia.com plus biscuits, plus leftover ideas.