Friday, June 26, 2015

Baked Brie with Berries

Brie is a soft bloomy rind cow's milk cheese named after the Brie region in France.  It’s a beautiful pale color covered in an edible white moldy rind.  Baking soft brie cheese in pastry is an old party hors d’oeuvres standby.  Sometimes chutney is added for a nice counterpoint of bright flavor.  It’s a rich and gooey bite to serve for cheese lovers.

My version is a quick appetizer or dessert course that involves flaky pastry, a small circle or wedge of luscious brie cheese and fresh raspberries and blackberries.  The berries really temper the richness and add a nice level of acidity.  It doesn’t take much effort at all and presents beautifully while still warm. 

Bon appétit!

Bench notes:
- The dough comes together very quickly in a food processor.  It will not look like a dough but rather like a slightly moist cottage cheese that comes together when you wrap it in plastic to chill (see this illustration). The important thing is to keep visible pieces of butter in tact and avoid blending it all into the flour.  
- Dough and berries can be prepared a day or two ahead.
- Once you’ve trimmed the edges of the dough, gather the scraps.  Roll them out and cut out a topknot.  Affix with egg wash.
- If your brie is in the form of a long wedge, just cut it into two pieces across the width and place them together side by side to approximate a square.

Baked Brie with Berries
Serves 8 – 10

1 cup (5 oz) flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 oz (6 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter
1/4 cup (2 oz) cold water

1/2 lb brie cheese
6 oz raspberries
6 oz blackberries
2 tablespoons (26 grams) sugar
2 tablespoons (1 oz) water
1/4 teaspoon lemon juice

1 egg + 1 tablespoon water + few grains of salt = egg wash

To prepare the pastry dough, place the flour, sugar and salt into the bowl of a food processor and blend.  Cut the cold butter into 1/2" pieces and add to the flour mixture.  Pulse until the butter is the size of small peas.  Add the cold water and pulse just until the dough starts to clump.  The dough will look a bit like small curd cottage cheese.  Gather the dough and place on a sheet of plastic wrap.  Form a disc and wrap tightly.  Chill thoroughly.

Place the berries, sugar and water in a saucepan.  Simmer over low heat just until softened, about 2 minutes, stirring to prevent scorching.   Take off the heat and stir in the lemon juice.  Set aside to cool.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Prepare the egg wash.

Place the dough on a very lightly floured silpat or a piece of parchment and let it warm up just enough to prevent cracking when you use your rolling pin.  Roll into an approximate 10 1/2" square.  Trim the edges to form a clean square and set aside the scraps. 

Move the dough to the baking sheet, then place the wheel of brie in the center. Top with the berries.  Fold the corners of dough up and around the cheese, sealing the edges with egg wash along the sides and at the top.  

Roll out the scraps and cut out a topknot.  Use the egg wash to place and secure it at the center intersection of the dough.  Brush the whole pastry with egg wash.

Bake until pastry is golden and cheese has melted, about 25 – 28 minutes.


Monica said...

I wanted to tell you this recipe sounds fantastic! I came on the page for at least five times since you have published it and now I've just came home with a piece of Brie cheese and now I was thinking when to make it.
Greetings from Rome!

pastry studio said...

Hellooooooo from San Francisco, Monica in Rome! It's a super easy recipe, simple and delectable, and I hope you enjoy it in your own kitchen. Buon Appetito!