Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Brie (or camembert) en Cro没te

For our little wine and cheese party Meghan suggested I make my grandmother's brie en croute recipe and, while I had kind of forgotten about the recipe, I instantly began craving it as soon as she said the words. I was very, very excited to sample this gooey, crusty dish for the first time in several years.

Here's a copy of my grandmother's recipe in her handwriting. I told her that I had made this for our little party and she told me that she had actually gotten the recipe from my aunt Michele (as evidenced by the recipe). This has been a favorite that we have had at family gatherings as long as I can remember. It's ridiculously easy to make, but looks fancy and tastes as good as it looks. My grandmother's recipe is a little vague, so I took pictures of each step to help you get a visual.

The 4 ingredients all laid out. You can find the puff pastry sheets in the frozen dessert section of any grocery store. I bought this gigantic bunch of parsley at the Farmer's Market. For some reason I had a hard time finding a round of brie! I went to both Trader Joe's and Whole Foods and all they had was wedges. Luckily, I had read that you can also use camembert, which is very similar to brie but is a bit stronger tasting than the mild brie. But don't worry, while this cheese is a bit smelly, it is still mild enough that an unadventurous eater would still like this dish. (I think.)

Let your puff pastry thaw. I just set mine out at room temperature for a few hours. Then, cut your cheese round in half. I found that using a serrated knife worked best for this. Try and cut this fairly evenly so that the two sides are equal in thickness. It doesn't really matter how pretty it looks because it's going to be covered up anyways.

Add your parsley and almonds to one side of the cheese. Since the recipe has no measurements, I just guessed at it. I ended up using about 1/4 cup of parsley and than I just layered the almonds on top of the parsley so that they completely covered the parsley for the most part. Then, put the top of the cheese back on.

It was really hard to take pictures of the wrapping process, but what I did was I trimmed all four corners of the pastry off to make a more rounded sheet of dough. I then just gathered the dough around the cheese and sealed it all the way around the cheese. I then flipped the cheese over and used the left over dough to add some embellishments. This is where you can really make this dish look fancy if you want. I'm not the best shape maker so I went with a simple heart and dots. I remember in the past one of my aunts made little leaves out of the dough, and one year my aunt get the brie round into a football shape and put a "N" on top. 

Stick your creation in the oven, and when you pull it out it should look like this! The dough should be golden and puffed up. Let it sit for ten minutes before digging in or the cheese will pour out of the crust when you cut into it. Serve with bread or crackers, or even just eat plain. Once you bite in, the almonds will be super soft and the parsley just gives the dish that little je ne sais quoi!

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