Category Archives: appetizers

Baked Brie with Caramelized Onions

Baked Brie with Caramelized OnionsIf you go back and look at the order of recipes on this blog, you can clearly see my train of culinary thought. Last week, I posted three pies back-to-back. Last month, I posted a cake per week. Earlier in the year, I was making doughnuts right and left. I can’t help that my inspiration is so obviously linear.Baked Brie with Caramelized OnionsThis week, I’m caramelizing everything. On Wednesday, it was Brussels sprouts. Today, it’s onions. But they’re not just any old caramelized onions. Nope. These are nestled with a wheel of brie, wrapped in buttery pastry, and baked into a puffy, golden appetizer worthy of any Thanksgiving spread!Baked Brie with Caramelized OnionsBaked brie is always a holiday hit—what’s not to love about the combination of melty cheese and flaky pastry?!—but I am all about the sweet addition of caramelized onions here. They’re cooked low and slow until they’re soft, sweet, and deeply browned. I like to add some minced garlic and fresh rosemary (it’s another thing I’m into right now) at the end of cooking, just for a little dimension.Baked Brie with Caramelized OnionsBaked Brie with Caramelized OnionsAfter the onions cool, it’s time to assemble the baked brie. Roll out a sheet of puff pastry (I use rough puff, but the frozen all-butter stuff works too) and pile the onions on top.Baked Brie with Caramelized OnionsSmear a little dijon on one side of a wheel of brie and place it on top of the onions. The mustard flavor isn’t too pronounced here, but it’s sharpness helps offset the richness of the cheese and pastry.Baked Brie with Caramelized OnionsBaked Brie with Caramelized OnionsWrap everything up tight, give it an egg wash glaze, and decorate with some little pastry leaves, if that’s the sort of thing you’re into.Baked Brie with Caramelized OnionsBaked Brie with Caramelized OnionsBaked Brie with Caramelized OnionsBaked Brie with Caramelized OnionsBake the brie until the pastry puffs and turns golden. Wait a few minutes before serving it with seasonal fruit and the crackers you made your roommate go get from the overpriced cell-phone-dead-zone grocery store behind your building (and you didn’t even complain when he came back with some weird flavor instead of plain because you’re an adult and someone did you a favor)…Baked Brie with Caramelized Onions…um, what was that? Oops. Back to baked brie.Baked Brie with Caramelized OnionsBaked Brie with Caramelized OnionsYou’re going to love this brie, y’all! It’s rich and buttery, and oozes in the best possible way. One bite of this melty, cheesy, salty-sweet treat is worth every second it takes to cook those onions, I promise. I know all your holiday guests will agree.Baked Brie with Caramelized Onions
Baked Brie with Caramelized Onions
makes one 5-inch (13.4 ounce) baked brie

Rough Puff Pastry:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
5 ounces unsalted European-style butter, very cold, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup water or milk, very cold

Caramelized Onions:
2 medium sweet onions, sliced into thin half-moons
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary

For Assembly:
1 5-inch (13.4 ounce) wheel of brie
1-2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1 large egg
1 teaspoon water

For Serving:
seasonal fruit
bread or crackers

Make the pastry. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour and salt. Use a pastry blender or two forks to cut butter into dry ingredients until the largest pieces are the size of small peas. Pour in cold water or milk and stir with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon until a shaggy dough forms.

Flour a surface and a rolling pin. Turn dough out onto surface, and use your hands to pat it into a rough rectangle. Roll the dough into an 8×10″ rectangle. Fold dough in thirds, and give it one quarter turn. Roll into an 8×10″ rectangle again, fold, and turn. Repeat rolling, folding, and turning until it has been done six times total. Wrap folded dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour, or up to 48 hours.

Caramelize the onions. Melt butter in a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring frequently, until they reduce in volume and are deeply browned (but not burnt!). Add garlic and minced rosemary and cook just until fragrant, about 1 minute. Do not rush this process. Set aside to cool completely.

Preheat oven to 400F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Set aside.

Assemble the baked brie. Flour a surface and a rolling pin. Unfold dough. Roll dough out to 9×12-inch rectangle. Slice off a 2×9-inch strip and refrigerate it for later. Place onions in a 6-inch circle in the center of the remaining dough.

Spread mustard on one side of the brie. Place the brie, mustard-side-down, on top of onions. Fold pastry over the top, leaving no exposed cheese. Place wrapped brie, smoother-side-up, on prepared pan. Refrigerate.

Make an egg wash. In a small bowl, combine egg and water. Whisk with a fork until smooth.

Remove reserved strip of dough from the refrigerator. Use a knife or decorative cookie cutters to cut decorative pieces, if desired.

Remove brie from the refrigerator. Paint with egg wash. Top with decorative pieces and paint with more egg wash. Bake brie for 25-30 minutes, or until puffed and golden.

Let cool for at least 15 minutes before removing to a serving platter. Serve with fruit, bread, or crackers, if desired.

Baked brie is best on the day it’s made, but may be wrapped tightly in the refrigerator for a few days.
Baked Brie with Caramelized OnionsBaked Brie with Caramelized OnionsBaked Brie with Caramelized Onions

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Rosemary-Parmesan Cheese Straws

Rosemary-Parmesan Cheese StrawsHappy Halloween! If you’re looking for holiday-appropriate recipes, see here, here, and here. If, however, you are ready to move on to Thanksgiving recipes, you’re in the right place.Rosemary-Parmesan Cheese Straws
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be posting the sorts of recipes I’d like to put on my holiday table. You know, the sorts of things I’d make if I came from a family that cooked on Thanksgiving.Rosemary-Parmesan Cheese Straws
I don’t though, and we already have a reservation, so consider these next six or seven posts as a little teaser of what I will one day make when I get to live out my dream of making a Thanksgiving Dinner at home.Rosemary-Parmesan Cheese StrawsThere is going to be a lot of pie (starting Friday!), but before we get to dessert, let’s have an appetizer: Rosemary-Parmesan Cheese Straws.Rosemary-Parmesan Cheese StrawsThese golden, twisted beauties are perfect for any holiday cheese plate. They’re salty, flaky, cheesy, and have an aromatic hit of fresh rosemary—they’re perfect sidled up to a pile of sliced fresh pears.Rosemary-Parmesan Cheese StrawsWhile these cheese straws look fancy, they are easy to make from scratch and require only eight ingredients. The base recipe is rough puff pastry dough.Rosemary-Parmesan Cheese Straws
Rosemary-Parmesan Cheese StrawsRosemary-Parmesan Cheese StrawsRosemary-Parmesan Cheese StrawsWhenever possible, I like to use rough puff in place of frozen puff pastry. Here, it’s not an option to start with pre-made pastry because minced fresh rosemary is incorporated directly into the dough. Don’t worry—this is extremely easy to make and takes about five minutes total.Rosemary-Parmesan Cheese StrawsOnce you have a dough, roll it into a sheet. Scatter fine, airy shreds of fresh Parmesan over the top and fold it all together like a letter. This will give you flaky layer of dough, along with almost impossibly thin layers of cheese. Flavor allllllll over the place!Rosemary-Parmesan Cheese StrawsRosemary-Parmesan Cheese StrawsRepeat the folding process five more times and give it one extra, cheese-less fold to lock everything in—this is to ensure that there isn’t any exposed cheese left to burn during baking. Let the dough chill for an hour, or even a couple of days.Rosemary-Parmesan Cheese StrawsRosemary-Parmesan Cheese StrawsWhen you’re ready to bake, slice it into long, thin strips. Brush them with egg wash and give them a twist before laying them on parchment-lined baking sheets.Rosemary-Parmesan Cheese StrawsBake the cheese straws for ten minutes before flipping them over and letting them go for another two minutes.Rosemary-Parmesan Cheese StrawsAren’t they stunning?Rosemary-Parmesan Cheese StrawsAnd talk about delicious—layer upon layer of rosemary-speckled pastry and Parmesan.Rosemary-Parmesan Cheese StrawsYes.Rosemary-Parmesan Cheese Straws

Rosemary-Parmesan Cheese Straws
makes 27-28 straws

1 cup all-purpose flour
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
5 ounces unsalted European-style butter, very cold, cut into cubes
1/4 cup water or milk, very cold
4 ounces fresh Parmesan cheese, finely grated (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon water

Make the pastry. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and rosemary. Use a pastry blender or two forks to cut butter into dry ingredients until the largest pieces are the size of small peas. Pour in cold water or milk and stir with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon until a shaggy dough forms.

Flour a surface and a rolling pin. Turn dough out onto surface, and use your hands to pat it into a rough rectangle. Roll the dough into an 8×10″ rectangle. Top with 1/6 of the grated Parmesan (about 2-3 tablespoons). Fold dough in thirds (like a letter), and give it one quarter turn. Roll into an 8×10″ rectangle again, scatter on 1/6 of the Parmesan, fold, and turn. Repeat rolling, scattering, folding, and turning until it has been done six times total. If anything gets warm or soft during this process, return the dough to the refrigerator for 15 minutes before continuing.

Roll and fold one more time (a 7th time); this is to seal in the last layer of cheese. Wrap folded dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour, or up to 48 hours.

Preheat oven to 400F. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment.

Make egg wash. Combine egg and water in a small bowl. Whisk them together with a fork. Set aside.

Flour a surface and a rolling pin. Unfold dough. Roll dough out to 10×14-inch rectangle. Slice in half width-wise, so that you have 2 10×7-inch pieces. Return one half to the fridge.

Slice the remaining piece of dough into 10×1/2-inch strips. Before separating them, brush them all with egg wash. Working with one at a time, twist strips and lay them 2 inches apart on prepared pans. Keep in mind that they will uncoil a bit during baking. If anything gets warm or soft during this process, return the dough to the refrigerator for 15 minutes before continuing.

Bake straws for 10 minutes or until golden brown on the bottoms and light golden on the tops. Flip them over and bake an additional 2 minutes. Remove the pans from the oven. Let straws cool on pans for 3-5 minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely. Repeat slicing, twisting, and baking processes with remaining dough.

Cheese straws are best the day they are made, but may be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days. Do not refrigerate.Rosemary-Parmesan Cheese StrawsRosemary-Parmesan Cheese StrawsRosemary-Parmesan Cheese Straws