Monday, December 8, 2008

My Favorite Things

One of my favorite things during the month of December are the recipes. Also, that most of the parties we are invited to (not that we are invited to many) they are, in a sense, pot luck.

Saturday was our Sunday School Christmas party; finger foods, bring a favorite dish. For Hubby and I that means we each brought a dish because we each like to bake and we each have different tastes. He made his world famous cheesecake. OK, maybe "world famous" is stretching it a bit, but it is famous in two churches, in two separate states, and several circles of friends and family.

I on the other hand have been salivating to make baked Brie. I love Brie cheese, I've loved it since I was a child (and we can have that psychoanalytical session another time, I mean what kid loves Brie cheese? For that matter, what kid has ever heard of Brie cheese, I did.) The kids were fascinated while I assembled the pastry and Brie. (Really, they just wanted to eat the left over, unbaked pastry ... don't ask because I don't know.) Hubby looked a little green as he saw the raspberry preserves spread around the cheese and then wrapped in the pastry.

Here is the recipe I used. It came from Very Virginia: Culinary Traditions With a Twist. This was published by the Junior League of Hampton Roads, Inc. (Needing to give credit where credit is due.) And, once Hubby saw and tasted the finish product, I think it also helped that everyone at the party was digging into it, he became a baked Brie convert.

Raspberry Brie en Croute

1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed according to package directions. (I used 2 since my Brie was 2 times the size of what the recipe called for)
1 round of Brie cheese (8 oz) (I had 19 oz)
1/4 cup raspberry preserves (twice the amount of cheese, twice the amount of puff pastry, twice the amount of preserves)
1/4-1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted (in my world nuts are optional, therefore no nuts were used for my recipe)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place pastry sheet on a lightly greased baking pan. Place Brie in center of pastry, spread with preserves, and sprinkle with almonds. Wrap Brie in pastry sheet, trimming excess. Seal seams by moistening edges with water and pressing together with fingers. (You may be creative, twisting the pastry into a knot or braid or decorating with excess pastry.) (I went all Martha Stewart, as if baking with Brie is not MS enough, and used the holly leaf shape cutter to cut out two leaves and place them on top of the wrapped Brie.)

Bake 30 to 40 minutes (mine took more like 5o to 60 minutes, I guess double the amount and increase the time.)

Serve with crackers.

It was a hit, we came home with very little left. The cheesecake, as always, was a hit and we came home with just enough to keep me in a chocolate and sugar high for a couple days.

Oh, and the left over puff pastry my kids wanted to eat. I tore it up in little balls, placed them in a mini-muffin tin, spread them with cooking spray and sprinkled them with sugar, cinnamon and sucanut, and baked until lightly golden brown. I was channeling Martha all over that kitchen Saturday night!

What recipes have you tried during these holidays? Leave a comment and let us know.

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