A 'wheely' good appetizer...
Say this blog post title 10 times, we dare you! Making this appetizer is much easier than saying it, I promise. Baked brie is so easy and so delicious. It has staying power as one of the more decadent appetizers to appear at any party or friend get together, and you'd better dip your cracker in and get some because it never lasts long. Before you know it, all the good stuff is gone and side brine is left lonely and cold on the plate.
Brie is an excellent base upon which to heap some luscious toppings, and the only limit is your personal taste and sense of adventure. So take a leap from the same old pecans and brown sugar to something that will delight your tastebuds and your guests with its originality and pleasing twist of flavors.
Naturally our recipe showcases our Birch for Breakfast syrup (or alternatively our Pure Gold Birch Syrup for a less sweet option) which adds a smooth rich fruity flavor that plays well with the tart cranberry adding its sweetness and unique tang of a tree syrup. Pecans go the best with Birch, although other nuts if you favor them more are certainly an option. They toast up nicely while the Brie is melting in the oven and the Birch gives the pecans a caramelizing hug. A fresh sprig of thyme or two is optional but we highly recommend adding this flavor twist to take this dish from yummy to sophisticated.
What to do with the rest of the Thyme in the package? Thyme is a pretty garnish for your table. Add sprigs to your napkin rings, garnish your bread basket or cocktails with it or place them around the base of a pretty white candle.
General tips for 'wheely' (haha!) great Baked Brie
Baked brie is a rich & delightful appetizer in its own right, but when you add a few interesting toppings that contrast in flavor, that's when it goes from delightful to purely amazing!
Here is a tip when it comes to adding great toppings to brie. Don't be afraid to experiment with new flavors and add two to all four of the following:
- Add a sweet syrup or jam
- Add a nut for crunch
- Add a sweet or tart fruit or something super savory
- Add an aromatic herb to add dimension
Birch Berry Brie Bake
NOTES: Use fresh thyme, not the dried stuff. Fresh will give the best and most delicate flavor while adding visual interest to your appetizer table.
If you want a less sweet, more fruity version, use Pure Gold Birch Syrup instead of Birch for Breakfast.
Lastly it's best to toast the pecans for 5 mins in a 350 F oven before placing on the brie for baking.
Preheat: 350 F
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Lightly spray a round shallow baking dish that fits the wheel of brie with 1/2 inch or so of space around it.
1 8-ounce wheel of creamy brie
1/3 cup Birch for Breakfast
1/3 cup fresh or sweetened dried cranberries
1/4 cup toasted pecans, roughly chopped
2 sprigs fresh thyme leaves
Use a sharp knife to cut along the top inside edge of the round of brie, then remove the top rind. The top should dip down a bit from the sides to help hold the syrup in as it bakes and the top does not have to be even, as it will smooth as it bakes. Place the brie in a shallow baking dish or cast-iron pan.
Mix the toasted pecans and cranberries with the birch syrup and coat well. Spread on top of the Brie. Place thyme sprigs on top.
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
Place a small serving spoon in the middle and serve hot with fruit and nut crackers, crisps or baguette.
You may also enjoy these appetizer recipes from our Birch Recipe Blog: