Sounds fancy, doesn’t it? Believe me, this is one of the easiest and most irresistible appetizers on the planet. Last week I hosted a small dinner party for my friends and was looking for a starter that complimented the menu. I had a left over block of homemade puff pastry in the freezer and used that as a starting point. It didn’t take me long to think of baked brie which, surprisingly, I have never made before though I have eaten and loved it many times. The apple compote can be made in advance if needed. This takes next to no time to assemble and the most difficult part is waiting until it comes out of the oven to dig in. My puff pastry unfolded a little bit during baking but I actually liked it that way because you could see the warm, gooey brie layered with apples. This was demolished by the end of the evening, and is a fantastic recipe to have in your repertoire. I’m fairly certain this will make an appearance on my Thanksgiving appetizer table this year.
For the apple compote:
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 golden delicious apples, peeled, cored and cut to ½-inch dice
¼ cup sugar
Pinch grated nutmeg
10-inch round puff pastry, rolled to ¼-inch thickness
1 round Brie cheese, 6-8 oz. and about 4½ inches wide, chilled
1 egg beaten with 1 tbsp. water
Water crackers, for serving
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the diced apples and cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples have released most of their juices, about 5-7 minutes. Mix in the sugar and nutmeg, stir well to combine, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 12-15 minutes longer. Remove from the heat and let the mixture cool to room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 375˚ F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Transfer the round of puff pastry to the prepared baking pan. Using a sharp knife, cut the disc of cheese in half horizontally to create two thinner discs. Place the bottom disc in the center of the puff pastry round. Spread about half of the apple compote over the surface of the cheese. Top with the remaining cheese disc. Layer with the remaining compote. Bring the puff pastry up around the edges of the brie-apple layers. Fold and pinch the edges so that only a small portion of the top surface is exposed. Brush the surface of the puff pastry lightly with the egg wash.
Bake until the puff pastry is golden all over and crisp, 40-45 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes, then transfer to a serving platter with a knife and crackers.