Saturday, April 21, 2012

Bite-Sized Baked Brie

cheese + bread = my kind of popsicle

Sure, I preach that we should all eat whole foods and read labels. Usually, it's no more than a handful of ingredients for me, all of which I can pronounce or identify the source. Forget all that. At least for the next five minutes.

Flaky, buttery puff pastry is amazing. Just about as amazing as the list of crap that's in manufactured dough. Should I make my own pastry dough? Probably. Will I initiate a battle with cold butter while I'm finishing graduate school and a thesis? (no comment needed)

These bite-sized buttery pockets of cheese and jam are another one of my favorites from Joy the Baker. They're messy (even for Joy) and oh-so delicious.

What you need: frozen puff pastry, Brie, an egg, and jam. The popsicle sticks are optional but highly recommended. Seriously. Everyone loved the popsicle sticks.

Any flavor of jam will do (homemade and/or local is ideal, of course). If you're completely indecisive like myself, mix it up. I used raspberry (very sweet), blackberry (sweet but tart), fig (neutral), and the last of my apple butter from the fall (my favorite). 

I cut Joy's recipe in half, which I often do for first-time tries, and used one sheet of puff pastry. Typically the supermarket sells two sheets of dough per box. Use the folds to your advantage and cut along the folds to split your dough into thirds (you see two-thirds of one sheet in the photo above). A pizza cutter or long knife works well for this. I wasn't concerned about straight lines and even pieces, so I didn't bother with a ruler. Be sure to work quickly as the butter in the dough softens quickly. If your dough is getting sticky, pop it in the fridge and take a short break.

As you're filling your pops with cheese and jam, it's hard to use only a little of each. I promise you will end up with the perfect amount of all things good in the end. If it helps, cut a slice of Brie for yourself every other pop you make.

As you top the pops, the jam will surely leak out the sides. Be sure to press well with a fork and wipe up your mess. Finish them off with an egg wash and a sprinkling of sea salt. These little guys puff up magically in the oven and disappear within minutes.

Bite-Sized Baked Brie
From Joy the Baker
Makes 12 squares

1 sheet puff pastry, cold
small wedge of Brie
1/4 jam (fig, apple, raspberry, blackberry, etc.)
1 egg, beaten
sea salt
popsicle sticks (optional)

Preheat oven to 375. Unfold a sheet of puff pastry and slice into thirds vertically (or slice along the folds). Slice each piece into 4 pieces to make 12 rectangles. Cut these rectangles in half to yield 24 pieces. Work quickly to prevent dough from getting too warm.

Beat egg and brush 12 pieces of dough with egg wash. Press a popsicle stick about halfway up the dough. Top with a slice of Brie (rind included) and about 1/2 teaspoon of jam. Press the remaining squares slightly with your fingers and place over the filled rectangles. Use a fork to crimp the edges together. Transfer finished pastries on a baking sheet, brush with egg wash, and sprinkle lightly with sea salt. Bake 12-14 minutes or until golden brown.

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