For me, there is nothing more comforting than warm, melted, gooey cheese. Whether it’s in a pasta bake with a burnt butter sage sauce, or in an oozy croque madame toastie, or as a sprinkle of over mash potatoes, it doesn’t really matter. It’s hard to pass by a dish that is fragrant with the smell of melted cheese.
Also, have you noticed that the majority of ‘comfort foods’ are pale coloured? Most cheeses (yes, I’m discounting you completely from this category blue cheese!) tick all the boxes when it comes to what people look for in comforting foods.
Baked brie (or camembert) is a delicious, decadent treat. I’ve baked it many times as is in its wheel but just stuffing it with some lemon thyme and garlic. The problem with this method of baking brie, however, was the stench of the rind. There’s nothing like a powerful ammonia smell to entice you to break open the warm gooey cheese, am I right?
If you would like to bake brie, as it is in its wheel, you have to look for a fairly young brie with a very soft rind, or else the smell of ammonia will linger in your kitchen for a very, very long time. Unfortunately, my preferred brie of choice is a beautiful, local, triple cream variety with quite a thick rind.
So the question becomes, how do you bake a wheel of brie without the rind?
You wrap it in puff pastry!
Removing the rind, or a portion of it at least, will also ensure that the centre of the cheese actually melts; it’s not at comforting, or as gooey, if the cheese doesn’t actually melt, you know…
This is the first challenge of 2014 thrown at us by the lovely Fromage Homage for the January Cheese! Please blog challenge: another choose-your-own-cheese adventure provided it’s comforting and warms the cockles of her heart while she endures a cold English winter.
Brie en Croute
- 175g brie (chilled)
- 1 sheet of puff pastry (thawed)
- 2 tablespoons raspberry jam (strawberry or blackberry jam or quince preserve work well too)
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons milk
- To serve: Grapes, apple slices, toasted baguette slices, toasted pita bread, crackers or anything you enjoy eating with warm, gooey cheese.
- Preheat oven to 200°C.
- Remove the top layer and most of the sides of the rind. If the brie you are using has a soft, thin rind, you can leave the bottom portion of the rind if you are so inclined.
- Place the thawed puff pastry onto a lined sheet pan.
- Add the raspberry jam to the centre of the pastry, spreading it out to the same size as the wheel of brie, before placing the cheese directly on top of the jam.
- Gather the edges of the pastry like you would if you were wrapping a bottle of wine and twist gently to enclose the cheese in the pastry – make sure that there are no cracks or rips that the cheese can ooze out of.
- Lightly whisk the egg and milk and brush the egg wash over the pastry.
- Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown.
- Allow to stand for 10 minutes before serving with grapes, apple slices and toasted baguette slices.