Sure, this is similar to the Baked Camembert we posted a little while ago, but it’s more upscale, using a puff pastry crust instead of bread. Since the winter here is rather short, we like to make at least one large batch of puff pastry to freeze and use in the upcoming months (during the summer, it’s just too warm to make puff pastry without the butter melting). Now, we don’t expect everyone will be up for a batch of puff pastry, so if you use a frozen, pre-made, version, we’ll understand.
We will note that we got the idea for the flavorings from Once Upon a Chef, though we didn’t add them directly to the cheese, simply because we forgot, remembering only after the cheese was sealed inside the pastry. We like to think of cheese en croûte with sweet toppings as a bit of quick thinking and recovery from a culinary misstep.
Obviously, use any type of soft, ripened cheese, such as Brie or Camembert. For the puff pastry, we make it ourselves, so we really can’t recommend any particular brand of frozen puff pastry, although we’ve read that you should search for the “all-butter” variety. For the toppings, use what sounds good to you, and, if you remember, these can be placed in the cheese by either cutting off the top, or slicing the cheese wheel in half horizontally.
Procedure in detail:
Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Roll out puff pastry. Our puff pastry was a rectangle, so we cut it in half, and rolled out each piece large enough to cut a circle that would cover the cheese. Puff pastry is delicate, so use care when rolling, and use a very sharp knife to cut through the pastry. If you want to decorate your creation, save all the pastry scraps. Place one circle of puff pastry on the prepared sheet.
Use egg wash to seal. Place the cheese on the puff pastry and brush the edges with the beaten egg. This will form a seal between the two layers of puff pastry, preventing the cheese from leaking out.
Seal. Place the second piece of puff pastry on top of the cheese and press the edges down to seal. Feel free to touch up the edges of the crust with the egg wash.
Decorate. Use a sharp knife to cut any pastry scraps into something decorative. We choose leaves because they’re easy. Cut out something leaf-shaped, and use the knife to press in the leaf veins. Brush the backside of each decoration and place it on the pastry. Add as much decoration as you want.
Egg wash. Brush the entire top and sides of the pastry with egg wash, which will give it a nice sheen as it bakes.
Bake. Slide into the oven and bake until pastry is puffed and golden brown, about 20 minutes.
Cool. Okay, inside that puff pastry the cheese is completely molten, so you need to let it stand for about 45 minutes before serving. Don’t fret; it’ll still be nice and gooey, but the cheese won’t just run out onto the plate.
Make honey mixture. While you’re waiting for the cheese to cool, mix together the pecans, rosemary, cranberries, honey, and salt. If it’s a bit on the thick side, consider warming the mixture slightly by placing it in the still-warm oven for 5 minutes.
Serve. Pour or scrape the honey mixture over the top of the cheese and slice into wedges. For an 8- ounce piece of cheese, four wedges seems about perfect. Serve with crackers or bread.
Well, this is one rich appetizer, and we wouldn’t recommend eating it all that often. We’d probably never had made it, except we picked up two wheels of Camembert cheese on a great sale the other week and were looking for a nice way to use them. This, and the version with bread surrounding the cheese was it. Four stars.