Still blogging recipes I made for my Foodbuzz 24,24,24 Mardi Gras in the Cul de Sac party. And BTW, if you have a Foodbuzz account, click the blue words above, go and "vote" for my meal. I think it is just a popularity context and doesn't rally mean anything, but right now, some one's SPAM meal is beating my 13 course Cajun dinner... Just pointless pride on my part, but still, I mean ...come on... SPAM!
This recipe is a slight adaptation of one from a recipe published in the Arnaud's Restaurant Cookbook (yes, the very one I am giving away, click on the photo to the right to get the details on how to enter). The only change I made was to make the pastry a little smaller... about three bites worth. I was serving 13 items, so no need to gorge... even with this menu, portion control ruled.
en Croûte is just a fancy French name for "in crust". So literally, this recipe is Brie cheese in a crust.
Puff Pastry... Man up, make your own. I did, click HERE to see how I do it. This is the third time I have made my own PP, and it is much easier than you think. It is a little time consuming, and takes advance planning (make a day or a week ahead of time). Total hands on is only about 30 minutes (5 minutes work every hour, but 6-8 hours sitting in the fridge in between those 5 minutes). Or, buy the pre-packaged if you must.
Here's what I did.... As always, Mise en Place (assemble your ingredients)
1 batch of my Puff Pastry recipe, or two sheets of the frozen version
4 TBS Butter
1/2 cup Pecans
8 ounces Brie
1 cup Brown Sugar
1 Egg beaten.
OK, I made 12 of the bite sized appetizers you see in the photo above. The actual recipe I am going to give you makes only 4. So, it is adaptable to make them smaller for a larger party, or "normal" (large) for a party of 4.
I made my Croûte square, and formed into round shapes, but any shape can be used (heart shaped for Valentine's Day). Make a template of cardboard or use a round cookie cutter. Make one set, and then make a second set 1/2 inch larger all around to accommodate the drape of the cheese.
Lay out your pastry. Cut into desired shapes. Put a portion (1/4th or 1/12th) of the Brie in the center of the smaller halves of the pastry.
In a small bowl, beat 1 egg to be used as a wash to help seal the dough around the cheese and pecan/sugar mix.
In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium low heat. Add the pecans and saute until softened (about 5 minutes). Add the brown sugar and mix. Yes, you are making a soft praline for the center. Remove from heat, you do not want this too hot.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Work quickly at this point. Pull up the edges of the puffed pastry making a cup around the cheese. Add a tablespoon of the brown sugar mixture and 2 or 3 of the pecans. Use a brush to coat the edges of the cup, and cover with the second larger sheet of pastry. Again, use the egg wash to secure the edges. Take a toothpick and work a couple holes in the top to release steam so the pastry does not split.
I always try to add an accent on the top. In this case, if you look close, you will see a little boat on the top of each. Don't worry if you don't, none of my guests noticed either. It just looks prettier if you have something on the top. Little mini cookie cutters work great for this. Again, brush these with the egg wash.
Bake for 20 minutes until the pastry is golden brown.
And not just a little bit good, these were OUTSTANDING good. Sweet from the Sugar, a little nutty from the pecan, with the melted Brie mixed in. A wonderful combination.
this may be too fancy for a Superbowl party. But if you are having a sit down dinner, these make a terrific appetizer. Superbowl, Mardi Gras or just because it's Tuesday!
And thanks to all the folks who left comments about our upcoming US Virgin Islands adventure. We are in the process of hunting down lodging. I think we have a spot, an apartment inside a 1700's Dutch mansion that has a grill and garden for my use. We are just waiting for the final word on housing allowance and per diem before we make a commitment.
Shipping is certainly an option, and we will probably ship a few things. best "value" in shipping is a priority mail flat rate box (foreign country, but still kind of United States) for $14.50. Still don't think i will be getting my Kitchenaid there. But I can get my entire wardrobe of Speedos in one box, with enough room for a couple of pairs of my wife's shoes.