Holiday Baked Brie – A warm treat for Saint Nick

Published 7:00 am Friday, December 1, 2023

My absolute favorite appetizer is baked brie, especially if it is served with a jam sauce or wrapped in pastry breading. If I am at a party or dinner where this delectable appetizer is served, you will find me scooping the melted deliciousness, one cracker at a time, while hoping no one notices that I have eaten 3/4 of the dish myself. 

This appetizer can be served during any time of the year, but there is something special and fitting for this dish to be enjoyed during the holiday season. The beautiful toppings (if so chosen) of cranberry, pecans and rosemary give the appetizer a visual aesthetic that seems perfected by a background of a popping fireplace, warm sweaters and a sparkling cranberry punch of some sort (or eggnog!). 

This recipe is inspired by food bloggers Faith Durand and the Joyous Apron, along with my personal additions, such as the pomegranates and honey, which make the recipe next level in my opinion!. 

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The great thing about this recipe is that it can be easily simplified, or spruced up as much as desired. For example, the ingredients added to the cranberry sauce or jam are not necessary, but provide more fun for the tastebuds. So, follow your big-brie heart and make it your own!

Holiday Baked Brie:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 8-ounce round brie cheese
  • 1/3 cup of cranberry sauce or your choice of jam of any kind
  • 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest (optional)
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup of either almonds, pecans, pistachios or hazelnuts (unroasted and roughly chopped)
  • Fresh rosemary (optional)
  • Serve with your choice of crackers, sliced baguette, and/or apples or pear slices.
  • 1-2 tablespoons of honey (optional)
  • 1/2 a cup of pomegranate seeds (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Preheat the oven to 425°F. 
  • Peel or slice off the top rind of the brie and scrape out a small amount of cheese to form a shallow hollow in the center. Place the cheese on a baking dish lined with parchment paper (it is very hard to transfer cheese after baking without parchment paper).
  • Mix the cranberry sauce or jam, brown sugar, vanilla, zest, and nutmeg. Top the brie with this cranberry mixture and sprinkle the nuts over it.
  • Bake for 8 to 12 minutes or until the fruit is bubbling and the cheese is gooey. This is a delicate process, and baking time can vary. The goal is to take the cheese out after it has softened, but just before it collapses into a heap.
  • Lift the parchment paper and use a spatula to carefully slide the cheese onto a serving dish. Drizzle desired amount of honey in a criss-cross manner across the brie, sprinkle the pomegranate seeds over the dish and garnish with a rosemary sprig (if desired). 
  • Serve immediately with assorted crackers or bread.

A couple of things to note:

  • Serve the brie immediately after removing from the oven. The cheese does harden after 15-20 minutes out of the oven. While it is still yummy and definitely edible even when hardened, the cheese will not ooze out when it hardens.
  • If the cheese hardens before it’s time to serve, you can microwave it for 15-20 seconds to melt the cheese.

Take this as your sign to host a holiday gathering, and I can guarantee your Holiday Baked Brie will be a hit!