Creamy baked brie appetizer is topped with a sweet and spicy cranberry sauce and chopped pecans. It’s a holiday appetizer that is sure to please a crowd!
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Brie is one of those treats that I should indulge in more. It’s cheese, after all. Who can say no to ooey, gooey goodness. I also love that while it comes across as a super elegant appetizer, it’s very easy to prepare. As far as pairings, the mild flavor lends itself to limitless sweet and savory pairings.
What is brie?
Brie is a soft, creamy cheese made from cow’s milk. It has an off-white to light yellow center with an edible, white rind. It’s named after the French region from which it originated.
Brie is not like champagne, however. It’s doesn’t have to come from France to bear the name. Brie cheese is produced all over the world. In fact, if you tried the brie in France, it would be completely different from the brie we consume in the United States. U.S. laws won’t allow unpasteurized raw milk products to be imported inside the states. What you’re buying locally is actually a stabilized version of French brie.
These days, brie is pretty easy to find. Even if your grocery store has a limited selection of gourmet cheeses, you’re sure to at least find brie. It’s sold in solid form in small round wheel.
What is the best way to prepare brie?
Brie can be consumed in a variety of ways. You can enjoy it cold straight from the fridge or at room temperature. Brie has a mild flavor that lends itself well to both sweet and savory dishes.
The white rind that surrounds the outer later is actually a layer of mold that forms naturally during the aging process. It’s completely okay to eat and most people do, but if the thought of eating mold grosses you out (you don’t eat blue cheese either, huh?), you can remove it quickly and easily with a sharp knife.
My favorite way to eat brie is baked. Straight from the oven, it’s soft and gooey and perfect for smearing over hard crackers or crusty bread.
How to make Spicy Cranberry Sauce
Instead of traditional cranberry sauce, I wanted to give it an unexpected spicy kick with a little dose of jalapeno peppers. I really like the combination of sweet and spicy paired with the creamy brie cheese.
Step one. Place one pound of fresh or frozen cranberries in a large saucepan with one cup of water. Bring the water to a boil over medium high heat. Simmer for about five minutes. You’ll start to hear the berries pop as they simmer.
Step two. Add two peeled, cored and sliced apples. I like to use Gala apples because they are sweet and hold up well during cooking. I also added one peeled and zested orange. Zest the whole orange first. Zest just means you are using a fine grater, or microplane, to remove the outermost layer of the peel — the orange part that contains all the oil. Once you’ve zested the orange, peel it, break it into segments and toss it into the pot.
Add a 1/2 cup of raisins, one whole jalapeno that has been seeded and chopped and one cup of sugar. Bring everything to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer on medium low for about 30 minutes.
Step three. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the sauce to cool. Transfer everything to a blender and process until it reaches your desired consistency. You can leave it slight chunky or puree it until it is the consistency of a thick sauce.
The cranberry relish can be can be made several days ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator. Reheat the sauce on the stove or in the microwave before serving.
How to Bake the Brie
Step one. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the brie on a foil lined cookie sheet or in a brie cheese baker. Bake the brie for 12-14 minutes. Allow it to cool for about five minutes.
Step two. Drizzle the cranberry sauce over the brie. Sprinkle with chopped pecans.
Step three. Serve with toasted bread or crackers.
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Baked Brie with Spicy Cranberry Sauce
- 1 pound fresh or frozen cranberries
- 1 cup water
- 2 apples sweet variety such as Gala, peeled, cored and diced
- 1 orange zested, peeled, and diced
- ½ cup golden raisins
- 1 jalapeno pepper seeded and chopped
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ cup chopped pecans
- Toasted bread or crackers
Place the cranberries and water in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Simmer for about five minutes until the berries begin to pop.
Add the apples, orange and zest, raisins, jalapeno and sugar. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer on medium low for about 30 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat and allow the mixture to cool. Transfer the mixture to a blender and blend to desired consistency – you can leave it slight chunky or pureed it until it is the consistency of jam.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the brie on a foil lined cookie sheet or in a cheese baker. Bake the brie for 12-14 minutes. Allow it to cool for about five minutes.
Drizzle the cranberry sauce over the brie. Sprinkle with chopped pecans.
Serve with toasted bread or crackers.