Tis the season for holiday parties!
And I guarantee this fantastic appetizer recipe will be the hit of your Christmas or New Year’s gathering!
The Best Baked Brie
Somehow, I lived 30 years of my life without tasting baked brie, but I’ve been making up for lost time ever since. I love it with apples, cranberries, nuts, and all the typical brie-ish toppings.
But this time I decided to add a few savory touches into the mix and we loved (loved, loved, loved) it!
This is by far the best baked brie I’ve ever had and I really wish I could jump through the screen and serve you a wedge right this minute.
Sweet apples and golden raisins, savory shallots and white wine, just a hint of thyme, a drizzle of thick, sweet balsamic reduction, and a sprinkle of toasted almonds. It’s amazing.
And I haven’t even gotten to bread bowl…
Classic Baked Brie + Sourdough Bread Bowl = Perfection
I occasionally serve baked brie as the centerpiece of a fast and easy weeknight dinner, usually with crackers and fresh fruit and vegetable slices for dipping, but I’ve never baked it inside a bread bowl.
Now I know – brie belongs in a sourdough bread bowl.
Of course, if you or your party guests are grain free, the bread can serve as just a lovely serving bowl, and the brie mixture can be spooned out and served on apple or vegetable slices.
But the combination of the creamy-savory-sweet brie mixture with the sourdough is a match made in heaven, and slicing it and serving it in wedges puts it in a whole other class of appetizers. You really don’t want to miss it.
Plus, it’s practical – it transports easily and is fancy enough to take to a holiday party, yet it’s easy enough to serve for a quiet family meal at home as well.
Can you tell I’m pretty excited about this stuff?
- 2 heaping Tbsp golden raisins
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 Tbsp pastured butter
- 1 large garlic clove pressed
- 1 large shallot thinly sliced
- 1 very large or 2 small golden apples I used Opal Gold, cored and chopped
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 1/2 tsp pure maple syrup no, it won't taste maple-y
- pinch sea salt
- Leaves from 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 large round loaf sourdough (about 3 pounds and 6-8" diameter)
- 12 oz round of Brie
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Cover raisins with water in a small bowl and allow to soak until ready to use.
Bring balsamic vinegar to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat. Continue simmering, whisking occasionally, until it reduces to about 3 Tbsp (will take about 15 min).
While balsamic is reducing, melt butter in a medium saute pan.
Add the pressed garlic and sliced shallot and cook, stirring often, for about 2 minutes.
Add the chopped apples and continue cooking and stirring until apples are softened but not mushy.
Meanwhile, prepare the sourdough bowl by removing a large, round section from the center. Use the brie round as a form for your cutout to ensure it's large enough. (This should leave about an inch around the perimeter). Cut down far enough to remove all but about 1/2-2" of bread from the bottom of the bread bowl. Cut the removed bread into large chunks for serving or reserve for another use (like my Christmas Breakfast Strata recipe?)
Add the white wine, maple syrup, sea salt, and thyme to the apples in the saute pan. Drain the raisins and add to the pan, giving everything a good stir. Allow the mixture to cook for a few more minutes, then remove from heat.
Place the bread bowl on a parchment lined baking sheet.
Drizzle about 1 Tbsp of the reduced balsamic over the inside of the bread bowl.
Slice the brie in half horizontally (tip: leave the Brie refrigerated until this point for easiest slicing).
Score the brie by cutting 6-8 slits (about 1/2" each) around the edges of both halves.
Place one of the brie halves, cut side up, into the bottom of the sourdough bowl. I had to use my fingers to gently press it down into the bowl. Top with about half of the cooked apple mixture.
Place the second brie half on top, pressing it down into the bread bowl if needed.
Drizzle the remaining 2 Tbsp of reduced balsamic over the cheese, then top with the remaining apple mixture.
Bake on the bottom shelf for about 15 minutes, or until surface is golden brown.
While the Brie is baking, toast the almonds by heating them in a saute pan over medium heat. Stir often to ensure even browning. Remove from heat until ready to use.
Once the 15 minutes is up, place a sheet of foil over the top rack of the oven to protect from overbrowning on the surface of the Brie, and continue cooking for an additional 5 minutes or so, until the cheese is melted.
Remove the cooked bread bowl from the oven and sprinkle with toasted almonds just before serving.
To serve, slice the entire bread bowl into wedges. Alternatively, use a serving knife to remove brie from the bread bowl and eaten with pieces of reserved sourdough, fresh fruit, or vegetable slices.
Leftovers can be covered and stored in the fridge. To reheat, place a piece of foil on the top rack of a 350 degree oven. Place the brie on the bottom rack for 10 minutes, or until heated through.
**Psst – need an idea to put those reserved sourdough bread chunks to good use? Try my Christmas Breakfast Strata recipe!**
I could go on and on about baked brie appetizers, my new favorite Christmas cookies, and my holiday recipes ebook, but I hope you know that all my excitement about holiday recipes and happenings hinges on a single, critical truth:
God came near to us, so that we could come near to Him.
That precious baby from 2,000 years ago grew up, died, rose again, and still lives today, and longs to offer freedom and forgiveness to each and every one of us! (Click here to learn how to have a personal relationship with God.)
May He be the center of our holiday celebrations this year!