Who doesn't love a gooey, oozing baked brie.....especially encased in a buttery puff pastry? OK, I'm sure there's someone out there that doesn't, but they're not members of my family of frankly, friends of mine! In fact, when I serve baked brie to my crew, all of those lessons in boxing out during my high school basketball days come in damn handy. You've got to throw some serious elbows to get my father out of the way so you're able to get remotely close to getting your fair share!
So imagine my shock when I read this recipe in Melissa Clark's fabulous book "In the Kitchen with A Good Appetite." Oh and if you don't read her column, "A Good Appetite" in the New York Times, you're really missing out. She has such a wonderful, engaging way of turning a simple recipe into a great story.....and a simple story into a great recipe! Anyhoo....in this recipe, she writes that during a party at her home, she happened to overhear a few snarky comments regarding her perceived lack of sophistication at serving baked brie. She also observed those same people gobbling it up.
Because she wasn't willing to forego a guilty pleasure, she decided she needed to maybe kick it up a notch, so to speak, so she went with the slightly more pungent Camembert. She also added the ginger marmalade for some subtle sweetness and warm spice and the toasted walnuts for texture. It totally works. One of the other advantages of using camembert is that it comes in those handy 4" rounds so it's easy to wrap in the pastry. Unless you're serving a big crowd (or my dad) and can use a whole large round of brie, the wedges tend to ooze a little too much and aren't quite as pretty once wrapped in the pastry.
That being said, I think the next time I'll try this with good ole trailer park brie! I really prefer the more mild flavor and besides my friends and family aren't all that sophisticated anyway! But if you need to impress at your next cocktail party serve this......but make sure you mention that it's Camembert. I guess.
Here's the recipe:
Baked Camembert with Walnut Crumble and Ginger Marmalade
Adapted from In the Kitchen with A Good Appetite by Melissa Clark
1/3 cup chopped toasted walnuts
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 tablespoon dark brown sugar
Pinch kosher salt
1/2 square of puff pastry, rolled out big enough to wrap around cheese
1 Camembert cheese wheel
1/8 cup ginger or bitter orange marmalade
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Preheat the oven to 350 deg F and line a baking sheet with foil. In a medium bowl, using your fingers to combine the walnuts, flour, butter, brown sugar, and salt. Gently rub the mixture together until it forms large crumbs.
On a floured surface, roll out into a round about 1/4 inch thick. Place the cheese in the center of the dough round. Spread the top with the marmalade, then cover with the walnut streusel. Fold the dough over the cheese. Brush with the egg.
Set the packet into a gratin dish and place on the prepared sheet pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. (Some of the cheese may bubble out.) Serve warm with slices of baguette or crackers.