Every once in a while, I find myself in a bit of a lurch. Either I’ve forgotten I’ve made prior plans for friends to swing by for a gab fest and a glass of wine, or people swing by completely unannounced. I always like to at least attempt to be a gracious host and serve some type of appetizer that doesn’t take all day to prepare or come out of a cardboard box. Over the years I’ve learned from my mistake and try to always have something stashed away in my freezer for moments like such as these.
One of my favorite appetizers to have stashed in my freezer is this apple compote with baked Brie. It’s so easy to put together and it's perfect for just about every occasion or situation. I’ve served this at holiday gatherings and plenty of wine nights–ladies if you're looking for something to serve at your next gathering of The Bachelor or The Bachelorette, or you’re hosting a bridal or baby shower, or even book club, you’re going to want to save this recipe.
Using puff pastry purchased at the store, the only potential difficult task you’ll have in front of you is sautéing the apples or whatever filling you prefer*. You can make it ahead and stick it in the freezer (just let the filling cool to room temperature prior to assembling) or assemble it, cook it and serve it within an hour. This is easily one of my most requested recipes.
If you’re short on time, you can also use jam or chutney. I recommend using a homemade jam or chutney as typically homemade or artisan items are more flavorful and will better compliment the cheese.
I absolutely love baked Brie. Anytime I find myself at a wine bar and they have it on the menu, I have to order it. Depending on the filling, it doesn’t always go with the wine I’m drinking, so for the sake of keeping things simple on you guys, serve it with bubbles, because let’s face it, bubbles go with everything. If you’d prefer not to serve bubbles, avoid serving an overly-mineral wine as the Brie will easily become overpowered and lost in a mouthful of gravel. Even sweet white wines will be an enjoyable pairing. But really, who doesn’t enjoy bubbles?!
Years past, when I didn’t have puff pastry in the freezer, I have used phyllo, which you can use if you prefer. It’ll be crunchier and more of a pain to assemble, but some people actually prefer the taste and texture of phyllo over puff pastry. You know your guests, use your judgement or perhaps serve one of each if it’s your first time serving it and you’re expecting a house full of people.
I suggest baking this in an oven safe dish that can go straight from the oven to the table. After I've rolled out my puff pastry, I lightly flour the bottom of whatever baking dish I’m going to use, and slide the pastry directly into the dish. Don’t forget to remind your guests that the dish is hot! I like to put an even amount of both crackers, crostini, if I have some, and freshly sliced apples around the baked Brie–don’t worry about getting too fancy, this dish will vanish just as quickly as the bubbly you're serving it along side of!
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2 apples, peeled, cored and diced (I prefer using 1 Golden Delicious and 1 Cripps Pink)
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon cardamom or cinnamon*
- 1 round Brie cheese, 6 to 8 ounces, slightly chilled
- 10-inch round of puff pastry, rolled out to about 1/4 thick
- 1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon of water
- *If using cinnamon, add a dash of pepper to the apples.
- Preheat oven to 375º
- In as sauce pan, melt the butter over medium heat and sauté the apples, periodically stirring until the apples have released the majority of their liquid and are tender, about 7 minutes. Add the sugar and spice (you’d add the pepper now if using cinnamon), stir until dissolved. Continue cooking until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.
- Using a sharp knife, slice the cheese in half horizontally. Place one half of the cheese in the center of your puff pastry, sliced side up, and carefully spread half of the apples over it. Top the apples with the other half of cheese, sliced side down, and top with the remaining apples.
- Carefully, wrap the puff pastry around the sides, making sure it is tightly wrapped around the edges. It’s vital that it's tight, otherwise you will have a mess on your hands! Pinch the dough together to seal it and then brush the dough evenly with the egg wash.
- Bake until the puff pastry is golden and crisp, approximately 45 minutes. Serve with water crackers, sliced apples or slices of crostini after five minutes of rest.