I’ve talked many times about the hedonistic pleasures of food, but there are going to be few things in life that get more hedonistic than baked brie in all its molten, gooey glory.
When I created my maple-apple jelly in the fall, I knew I was going to be tested in terms of what I could do with that much jelly — so of course I made two more batches and decided to gift it for Christmas. Still, for a guy that doesn’t eat toast very often, I still wasn’t sure what to do with even just the jar in my fridge. Then it came to me: what goes better with cheese than apples? How would it perform baked on some brie?
The resulting flavours were truly divine … pure pleasure on a crostini. What, you ask, are you yourself supposed to do if you don’t have your own maple-apple jelly … and if you aren’t disposed to making it? Any apple jelly will work … and if you really want the maple taste to go with it, drizzle some maple syrup over top when you’re done your assembly.
In truth, you hardly need a recipe to create such perfection and cookbooks and sources the world over will tell you exactly how to do it with umpteen variations and toppings: so many options, so little room in my cholesterol count to try them all. And if you want truly decadent, you’ll wrap the brie in phyllo or puff pastry. Others will have you wedge it into a ramekin or specially designed brie dish exactly made for baking them. This recipe, however, in all its simplicity and gooey goodness, is for Mitch (enjoy!).
Instead, I opted to grill a wedge of brie directly on ceramic tray. I knew full well that it would ooze and lose its shape as it melted … so instead of resisting this, I decided to go with the flow and see if I could corral it and use this to my advantage. I took half a granny smith apple, cut it thin, and wedged it around the brie … and as the brie melted, the apples fell (and crisped and baked in the process) and they caught the cheese and jelly from spreading infinitely. I thought about ‘breading’ it and then dismissed this as being more trouble and ultimately not gluten-free. Instead I opted to bathe it in an egg wash hoping this would create a little bit of a coating and give the jelly something to cling to. The egg totally disappeared in the baking process and was undetectable to both eye and mouth … so I’m not sure if it helped or made no difference. Still, I think the theory was sound and it certainly didn’t contribute to the taste.
To make the crostini: thinly slice a baguette, place slices on a tray, and broil for a few minutes per side until lightly toasted. If gluten-free is a requirement, there are many other bread and cracker choices.
Beyond that, if you’re looking for a romantic or easy dish to serve anyone who loves cheese … this is a classic that will always make friends.
Prep time: 10 minutes (includes crostini)
Cook time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Baked Brie with Maple-Apple Jelly
- Wedge of brie (pick a size you want)
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1/2 firm apple (e.g. granny smith), cored and thinly sliced
- 1/4 – 1/3 cup (maple) apple jelly, room temperature
→ Plus a tablespoon of maple-syrup if using just apple jelly
- Preheat oven to 350ºF (175ºC) and remove brie from fridge.
- Wash and core the apple and thinly slice it. Use a sharp knife to notch the brie around the sides every 1/2-inch (1-cm).
- In shallow dish (a pie plate would work well), beat egg. Dredge the brie and coat it in the egg.
- Place the brie on an ovenproof serving plate or ceramic pan. Wedge the apple slices into the notches you made in the brie and top with warm jelly.
→ Drizzle with maple syrup if you’re not using maple-apple jelly.
- Place the brie in the oven and bake for 20 minutes, until is starts to melt, lose its shape, and slightly ‘run.’ If you want a slightly more caramelization, broil the plate for another few minutes and remove.
- Set the plate on a heat-proof trivet and serve immediately with crostini or crackers … and enjoy.