Need a festive appetizer or dessert to wow your family and friends this holiday? My friend Kris taught me how to make this easy but elegant Baked Brie with Walnuts and Dried Cranberries. It’s one of her favorite make ahead holiday recipes. And it’s as fun to make as it is to eat.
Kris is a busy food stylist who wears many hats: chef, educator, writer, photographer and consultant. She’s helped write eight cookbooks, including The Cheese Lovers Cookbook, from which she adapted this recipe.
For this recipe, you’ll need a few pastry brushes, baking sheets, parchment paper and plastic wrap.
You can find phyllo dough in the frozen food section of your grocery store.
Fill the Brie with any of your favorite fruit and nut combinations. Use either liquor or fruit preserves and replace the walnuts with almonds, chopped pecans or hazelnuts.
Instead of cranberries, use apricots, dried cherries or mixed dried fruit.
Phyllo dough dries out easily, so keep your sheets of phyllo covered with a damp towel while you handle one sheet at a time.
Kris and I made two different bries: one with brandy, walnuts and dried cranberries and another with apricot preserves, slivered almonds and dried apricots.
Make ahead: You can fill and wrap the brie, unbaked, ahead of time and keep it covered in the refrigerator a day or two until you are ready to bake and serve.
Serve with sliced baguette and/or crackers. My favorites include Carr’s Water Crackers, Triscuits, Wheat Thins and ginger snaps.
The warm cheese spreads easily on breads and crackers and makes a dazzling appetizer, first course with salad or even dessert with fruit and cookies.
Gather your ingredients, open a bottle of wine or your favorite beverage and invite a friend to help you bake brie for Christmas or New Year’s.
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Dig in to Baked Brie with Walnuts and Dried Cranberries.
And as Julia Childs and my friend Chef Kris would say, Bon Appétit!
Fillo wrapped brie filled with nuts, fruit and liquor or preserves provides a delicious appetizer, first course with salad or dessert with fruit and cookies. Invite a friend to the kitchen and bake two variations!
- 1 whole mini Brie (1 lb.)
- *1 tablespoon cognac or brandy
- ¼ cup walnuts or slivered almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped
- 2 tablespoons dried cranberries or dried apricots
- 10 sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed and cut into 12-inch squares
- 4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted
- **1 bunch grapes, for garnish (optional)
- 1 baguette, sliced, for serving
- *Instead of liqueur, you may substitute 2 tablespoons of favorite fruit preserves.
- **Decorate with fresh or dried fruits, whole nuts, herbs, etc.…
- Preheat oven to 400 F. Brush a baking sheet with some melted butter and line with parchment paper.
- Prep the cheese: Place cheese on a plate and use a knife to scrape most of the rind off the top.
- Use the tip of the knife to pierce the top in several places and drizzle the brandy (or fruit preserves) over the cheese. Let stand at room temperature while you prepare the other ingredients.
- Prep phyllo dough: Place phyllo sheets on a dry surface and use a ruler to cut into 12″ squares. Save the scraps in a separate pile for decoration and cover all with a damp towel.
- Gently brush a sheet of phyllo dough with melted butter. Lay the piece of phyllo on the baking sheet. Repeat the process with 4 more sheets, laying each one at an angle to the previous one. Brush four more sheets and again place them at angles to each other on top of the Brie.
- Transfer Brie to baking sheet: Pick up Brie and tuck overhanging pieces of dough under the bottom. Center the cheese on the phyllo sheets on the baking sheet. Take the edges of the bottom layers of dough and bring them up towards the top. Brush the last sheet of dough with melted butter and tear it into 2- inch strips around the cheese to create smooth sides. Brush the sides with melted butter.
- Decorate top of Brie: One at a time, brush additional phyllo strips and scraps with melted butter to create a free-form design and more volume on the top of the cheese. Cover loosely with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until ready to bake.
- Place Brie in the oven and bake 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven and let cool 10 minutes.
- Transfer Brie from the parchment paper to a serving platter. Garnish with grapes, dried fruits such as apricots, dates and figs or other decorations as desired.
- Serve with slices of baguette and/or other crackers: Carr’s Water Crackers, Triscuits, Wheat Thins, ginger snaps or plain cookies.
Adapted from The Cheese Lover’s Cookbook and Guide