Wednesday, January 27, 2010


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


  1. Thank GOD the Speedos will make the trip. The visual of you in that Dutch Mansion Garden grilling up some spare ribs was memorable. You're being all so mysterious about this whole thing. One just doesn't up and move to the Virgin Islands on a whim (do they?) Your wife has a job, you have a house to sell? c'mon Dave, tell us more. You're killin us here.

    I'm heading over to Food Buzz right now, I will not feel responsible for a Spam meal beating out this wonderful feast you've shared. Over my dead body.

    This Puff Pastry stuff looks fabulous

  2. The puff pastry looks wonderful....I have yet to ever make one!!! Can't believe a SPAM dinner would beat way!

  3. Cut back on the caffine! You are all over the place, and I can't keep up!

  4. ok, I just realized I missed a post. My email RSS feed has been failing me, I'm missing alot of posts. I'm making sure everyone I follow is in Google Reader and switching over. I saw the whole explanation of your move. The best part about all of this is that you're taking us along! Can't wait to share this through your blog. Still want to know about the cats.

  5. I have the darnedest time leaving a comment... blogger just isn't working so well these days...

    anyway... spam... one word ...YUCK!!! They must a zillion family members

    Puff pastry looks wonderful...

  6. I'm not abig Brie person but dang if I that doesn't look so very good! Ummmmmmm....

    and we are both Pisces - ha, didn't know that :)

    I'll check out the food buzz - I'm not a member but can't stand the thought of Spam winning over your good food!

  7. Luckily I am a woman and do not feel the need to man-up and make the puff pastry myself. I'll go vote for you as soon as I can remember my stupid foodbuzz password.

  8. Ok, A spam meal cannot win! That's just wrong, so I have voted for your delicious food Dave!
    Glad the details for your trip are working out-I'm really looking forward to your posts from the tropics!

  9. You have just made my day with this brie. It is definitely one of my most favorite cheeses. Ever. Especially en croute.

    Your trip sounds so exciting! I wish I could live in a hot vacation spot for six months...

  10. This looks fantastic Dave! Your blog never fails to make me hungry!

  11. oh my gosh, so yummy. and the fact that you made your own pastry makes them double awesome!

  12. What's wrong with spam?

    But I don't LIKE spam!

    Sorry, your competition has the Monty Python mojo working against you. You can only hope they eat that wafer thin mint and explode! (wow, too many references there)

    Have fun on your trip. I'd ship you my Egg to use but damn, that'd be a bit expensive.

  13. You can't go wrong with brie and puff pastry. I'm still in awe that you made your own. These look amazing!

  14. I noticed the little boats. A mouth watering post for me!

  15. I don't think this is too fancy for the superbowl - I think it's perfect for anytime -yum!

  16. They look and sound delicious.
    Pecans + brie, couldnt go wrong.
    PS congrats on bakin it to perfection :)

  17. After making Kathy's Brie I have found out that I really like the cheese-had never had it before. I must have missed a post too. I best go back and re-read....

  18. WOW! I am so impressed!

    ~ Krista

  19. SPAM!!!!??? Okay, i'll go vote, and not just 'cause of the Spam (didn't know they still made it) These look gorgeous....
    Virgin Islands, eh? Almost went there once... No help here!

  20. Totally fancy dish. :) You're on a roll, aren't you? LOL at the speedos!

  21. OK, I buzzed. Even though someone else did a matched beer dinner that I thought sounded fabulous too... But that brie! Wow!