August 15, 2004

Bon Appetit and Au Revoir

Julia Child

Julia Child died on Friday, just a few days before her 92nd birthday. I hope I can live to 91 on a diet of rich buttery French food. Cheese and butter: the cornerstone of the French diet. What food exemplifies this glorious combination better than Brie en Croute (cheese wrapped and baked in buttery puff pastry)? I had already decided to make a Brie en Croute to celebrate Jill and Nate's anniversary party Friday night. After hearing of Julia's death I thought it only appropriate to have a small sampling. So instead of just one, I made three Brie en Croutes, each a different flavor. Julia would've liked it that way.

BRIE EN CROUTE (with mushrooms)

Ingredients:
1 8oz wheel of Brie or Camembert
2 Tbsps of unsalted butter
1/2 a small onion, minced
1/2 pound of finely chopped, fresh mushrooms
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. of grated nutmeg
splash of beer or wine
salt and pepper to taste
2 sheets of frozen puff pastry
1 egg beaten and thinned down with a splash of water

Method:
Melt butter in a heated pan and saute the onions and garlic until translucent. Add the mushrooms, nutmeg, wine and seasonings. Let the mushroom mixture cook down until all of the moisture has been cooked out (about 15 minutes). Allow mixture to cool.

On a floured surface, lightly roll out the 2 sheets of thawed puff pastry to seal any cracks. Using the brie as a guide, cut out a circle in one sheet of pastry. Remove excess pastry and set aside. Take the second sheet of puff pastry and round off the corners to create a second larger pastry circle. Remove excess pastry and set aside.

Slice the brie wheel in half, into two layers. center one half of the brie, cut side up on the smaller circle of puff pastry. Spread the mushroom mixture on top of the brie and then top with the other half of the brie, cut side down. Drape the larger pastry circle on top of the brie. Genty wrap the brie with the puff pastry, being careful not to stretch or break the pastry. Lift the entire brie package up, including the bottom pastry circle and fold the draped pastry around and under the brie, making pleats along the way. Firmly seal the bottom pastry pleats. Cut out mushroom shapes with the leftover pastry to decorate the top of the brie. Lightly brush the brie package with an egg wash. Place on a lined baking sheet and bake in a 400 oven for 20 minutes, then lower the oven to 350 and let it bake for another 15-20 minutes until golden brown on top. Serve with slices of french baguette.


BRIE EN CROUTE (with brown sugar)

Ingredients:
1 8oz wheel of Brie or Camembert
1/3 cup of chopped walnuts or pecans
1 Tbsp of unsalted butter
1/4 cup of brown sugar
1/2 tsp of cinnamon
2 sheets of frozen puff pastry
1 egg beaten and thinned down with a splash of water

Method:
Melt the butter in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Add the chopped walnuts and stir continuously til slightly toasted. Add the cinnamon and stir to coat. Let the nut mixture cool down in a separate bowl. Stir in the brown sugar after nuts have cooled.

Prepare the puff pastry sheets the same as above, except keep the brie intact. Place the brie wheel on the large pastry circle and pile the sugar and nut mixture on top, packing it firmly on top. Fold the pastry up and over the top of the brie, about 1 inch past the edge. Make pleats around the top of the brie to seal. Brush the egg wash on the edges and place the smaller pastry circle on top and seal the edges by pressing firmly. Decorate the top with the leftover puff pastry scraps. Place on a lined baking sheet and bake in a 400 oven for 20 minutes, then lower the oven to 350 and let it bake for another 15-20 minutes until golden brown on top. Serve with graham crackers and thin ginger snaps.


BRIE EN CROUTE (with mango chutney)

Ingredients:
1 8oz wheel of Brie or Camembert
1/4 cup of chopped, unsalted cashews
1 Tbsp of curry powder
1/3 cup of mango chutney
2 sheets of frozen puff pastry
1 egg beaten and thinned down with a splash of water

Method:
Prepare the puff pastry sheets the same as above. Rub the entire brie wheel rind with the curry powder. Place the curried brie on top of the larger puff pastry circle. Spread the mango chutney on top of the brie and sprinkle with chopped cashews. Wrap the edges of the puff pastry up and over the sides of the brie and chutney, making pleats to seal. Brush the edges with egg wash and top with the smaller pastry circle. Press firmly to seal. Decorate the top of the brie with small pastry flowers cut from the scraps and score the edges lightly with a knife. Place on a lined baking sheet and bake in a 400 oven for 20 minutes, then lower the oven to 350 and let it bake for another 15-20 minutes until golden brown on top. Serve with water crackers or naan bread.

Posted by yi at August 15, 2004 4:04 AM
Comments

Move to New York and feed me, please.

Posted by: lia at August 20, 2004 1:02 PM

Was browsing Google and found your site, enjoyed the reading, thanks

Posted by: Twink at September 21, 2004 8:02 PM
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