12.25.2012

Meals on Heels Vol.12 - Baked Brie Carousel with Sweet Rosemary Nuts



Merry Christmas everyone!  My gift to you is this delicious brie carousel.  A gift that will keep giving year round.  This recipe is such a winner for so many reasons.  It is easy to make, made for the masses and can be prepared a day ahead before baking.  The creamy brie cheese swirling with the sweet brown sugar, woodsy roasted nuts and floral piney rosemary is new and exciting, but still familiar.  This is a hit with everybody.  

The Ingredients:
20 ounce brie round
1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 cup roasted coarsely chopped hazelnuts, brazil nuts, walnuts, pecans, and almonds
Pinch sea salt
1/4 cup tightly packed brown sugar
1 package (2 sheets) Pepperidge Farm puff pastry (thawed and cold)
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup cream

Making the Masterpiece:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.



In a medium sized bowl mix the nuts, rosemary, sea salt, and brown sugar.



This silicone mat that I am using is called a Silpat.  This is a French nonstick baking mat that evenly transfers heat and also happens to be fantastic for preparing puff pastry.  

Carefully unfold your cold puff pastry onto your Silpat, or a lightly floured surface, so that it does not break apart at the folds.  



Place the brie in the center of the puff pastry.  Pile the contents of your bowl on top of the brie.



Pack the topping down with your hands, careful to keep as much on top of the brie as you can.



With a rotary cutter (ie pizza slicer) cut a circle around the brie, about 3 inches from the edges.  Keep your scraps for decorating!



Wrap and flute the puff pastry up around the top of the brie.



These scraps will become invaluable for decorating your carousel, so don't toss them!  Carefully unfold your second sheet of puff pastry onto a lightly floured surface.


Rub flour over your rolling pin to keep the rolling pin from sticking to your puff pastry.

  
This piece of puff pastry is making the top cover for the brie, so the two folds in the dough will be visible unless you roll them out.  Roll the dough to smooth out the creases.


Use a pastry brush (here I am using an unused paint brush...shhhh) to brush off excess flour from the dough.


Transfer your fluted brie from the Silpat onto a baking sheet covered with aluminum foil.  Cut the rolled out dough into a large circle using your rotary cutter.  Place the circle on top of the brie and tuck the overhanging dough under the brie.  Be careful to avoid any rips or there will be leaking!

  
Now for the best part!  Decorating!  For the final decoration you can just go wild with your imagination.  You can match your brie to the season, or to the event that you are bringing this delectable dish to.  A few ideas I thought of are initials, the traditional leaf motif, or braiding.  You can do whatever your heart desires.  My heart desires reindeer for Christmas.  I have an ardent love for cookie cutters because you can you use them in so many different capacities.  A week ago did you think you would be whipping out your cookie cutters for a brie carousel?  Doubtful, but here we are.  This reindeer is from my Christmas collection which I bought at Ikea in a pack.

Roll out the leftover dough scraps to make your decorations.


Using a sharp paring knife I cut little leaves to for a wreath around our lovely reindeer.


I wanted to make the leaves look a bit more obviously like leaves, and adding veins is the way to do it.  Using the back of the same paring knife I used to cut the leaf shape, I pressed into the dough to form lines.
    

In a small bowl whisk together one egg yolk with the cream.  This will adhere your decorations to the carousel and glaze the puff pastry to achieve that rich golden brown shine that looks so delicious.  



With a pastry brush, paint the entire carousel with the egg glaze.  Attach your decorations, then finish by glazing the whole masterpiece.

   
Before you bake the brie put it in the fridge for 30 minutes.



Pop your carousel into the oven and cook at 400 degrees until the puff pastry puffs, about 15 minutes.  Reduce the heat to 350 degrees and continue baking for 30-35 minutes.  



Take advantage of the cooking time to prepare what you will dip into the delicious brie. I always love a good simple loaf of baguette.  You can also wash and serve individual pieces of radicchio lettuce.  Apple is another natural, harmonious paring with brie.  The presentation of this dish is phenomenal, and there are so many ways to take advantage of the visual splendor.



When your brie look like this you are getting close, but not done.  Keep letting the brie bake until it is golden.


The finished product!  When you cut into a warm carousel the brie gently oozes out; it spreads so easily.  I serve the brie carousel on a large platter surrounded by bread.  It is so warm and inviting.  I took this very brie to a party full of women and the brie was gone in ten minutes.  Triumph!  



I really hope you try this recipe.  It may seem like a lot of steps, but it goes by quite quickly.  Most people have had baked brie before, but this takes the concept to a whole new level.  This is perfect for parties and dinners because it is easy, unique, delicious and you can make this a day ahead and refrigerate until you bake it.  Bon appetit!

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