Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Cranberry Pepper Jelly + Goat Cheese Baked Brie Bites

Cranberry Pepper Jelly + Goat Cheese Baked Brie Bites
Thanksgiving is just around the corner, y'all. I can't even contain my excitement, literally. I also have Friendsgiving this weekend, which is a great way to test some of my recipes out before the big show. And speaking of this fabulous holiday, every year I realize that one course is often neglected... the appetizers to nosh on while all the important stuff is still cooking. We normally have some charcuterie out, as well as a plate of different cheeses and crackers, but I think it could really do some sprucing up ya'know? Well, my friend, these are the perfect little bites that people can pick up and go multitask. It combines my recently posted homemade cranberry pepper jelly and it's not only perfect with turkey or on leftover sandwiches, but the condiment is great in this too! If you don't feel like making the cranberry pepper jelly (which is completely understandable), then you can sub in almost any jam... cherry, apricot, peach, etc. But I love the profile of the spicy cranberry component and it perfectly fits the season/holiday. As for the brie... I found a great goat cheese brie that, quite frankly, we have been addicted to lately; however, regular brie works just as well!! We personally don't like the rind (on any cheese for that matter), so we chose to remove it. If you don't mind or prefer it, then leave it on, no worries here. Now all you gotta do is buy some frozen puff pastry at the grocery store and cut it into squares and let the layering begin. You have to make sure that you don't over-stuff the squares, so that it seals properly and all of the fillings don't ooze out every where while baking. We purchased a poptart cutter and used that to seal it, but you can use any shape cutter and that will work just as well, just make sure to use a fork to close up the edges. After that, I brush mine with some egg wash, to help the browning, and sprinkle it with some fleur de sel or raw sugar (depending on if I want something more savory or sweet). Once you bake them, they will puff up gorgeously and turn the most perfect golden brown. I let mine cool just a tad, so that the cheese won't be a melty mess, but they are best served warm. Don't you worry though, they are great at room temperature too. I think these will be a great addition to your upcoming Thanksgiving parties. I mean think about it, it's practically a grown-up poptart, yay!! Enjoy :)
layers of puff pastry, goat cheese brie, + cranberry pepper jelly
using our adorable poptart cutter to make hand-held baked brie bites
place them on a baking sheet and brush with some egg wash 
bake them until they are golden brown and devour all of them immediately
For the Baked Brie Bites:
2 Sheets of Store-Bought Puff Pastry, Thawed & Still Cold
4oz Goat Cheese or Classic Brie, Cold
Homemade Cranberry Pepper Jelly
1 Large Egg, Beaten
Splash of Heavy Cream
Fleur de Sel or Raw Sugar, For Sprinkling

1. Prepping the Puff Pastry: All-butter, store bought puff pastry usually comes frozen and folded into thirds. We’re going to use these folded thirds to our advantage.  Cut the puff pastry into thirds along the creases. Cut each panel into four pieces.  They’ll be 2 1/4-inch tall and 3-inches wide. One sheet of puff pastry will yield 12 rectangles. Cut each rectangle in half. You’ll have 24 little rectangles that will create 12 little rectangle pockets.
2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with a silpat. Set this aside.
3. Making the Jelly-Brie Bites: Combine beaten egg and splash of heavy cream. Brush 12 of the small rectangles with egg wash. Place a small sliver of Brie (we like the rind removed, but it can be left on and it’ll still taste great) on top of the egg wash (and stick).  Top with a small spoonful of the homemade cranberry pepper jelly. Take another square of puff pastry and press between your fingers to make the rectangle slightly bigger. Place puff pastry on top of the cheese and jam.  Use a fork to press the edges together or you can use a pop tart cutter like I had.  The egg wash will act as glue. Make sure to seal the edges well by crimping with the fork.  Prick the tops of the pastry lightly with a fork in order to let the steam escape the inside of the pastry. Place the stuffed puff pastry squares onto the prepared baking sheet and brush the tops with some of the egg wash. If you want you can sprinkle with a little fleur de sel (or even some raw sugar for a sweeter pastry).
4. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the pastry has puffed and turned to a beautiful golden brown. Remove them from the oven and allow them to cool slightly before serving. These baked Brie bites taste best warm, but are also fine at room temperature!

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