Can I confess something? As much as I LOVE food and cooking, the idea of hosting a dinner party freaks me out. Don't get me wrong - I love to cook for others. Fixing a heaping plate of homemade food for someone and watching them gobble it down is one of the greatest pleasures in life.
However, the timing and organization that goes into a dinner party stresses me out. I'm sure I'd either rush the food (which is not a good thing) or end up in the kitchen for a good chunk of the night babysitting the stove or oven, all the while missing out on quality time with my guests. Which is the whole point of inviting them over in the first place!
So if I'm having a gathering, I'd much rather serve laid back snacks like this baked brie with jam + a white wine sangria. This quick appetizer recipe has minimal prep work, only a few simple ingredients, and a short cooking time, yet still tastes fancy enough to impress friends and family.
I'm talking 15 minutes tops from the time you pull the ingredients out of the fridge to sinking your teeth into a sweet, creamy, crunchy bite of cheesy nirvana.
That pretty much sums up the awesomeness that is baked brie.
Well, at least my version with honey-sweetened triple berry fruit preserves, fresh lemon zest, finely chopped rosemary, plus a few pinches of cayenne pepper.
Plain jam + brie would taste delicious together solo, but I wanted to throw in some simple ingredients to make the berry flavors pop. In this case, the lemon zest brightens the strawberry, blackberry & blueberry jam, and the fresh rosemary adds a subtle herb note in the background.
I also threw in a few pinches of cayenne pepper for a hint of spice, but I honestly couldn't taste it in the final dish. Maybe I'm not as sensitive to spice as others. Who knows. Next time I'll add more for extra zing.
If you're already thinking, I'm totally serving this at my next party! you have lots of options for toppings. Brie is a mild and creamy soft cheese that pairs well with an assortment of flavors. Savory, sweet, spicy--whatever floats your boat.
If you're into savory recipes, sauteed garlic or caramelized onions drizzled with raw honey would taste great on top of brie. Or maybe chopped figs with toasted walnuts and a spicy chutney.
Me? I opt for fruit preserves as a topping for baked brie. Cheese + fruit is a classic combo. And there's no sauteing or toasting involved so you can whip it together as a last-minute appetizer or snack on the fly.
As I established in my last post, I love, love, love berry jams, so tend to gravitate toward sweet baked brie recipes. Especially since I don't fix desserts often. You know, cause I'd eat them all myself. (Please tell me you can relate.)
The slightly sweet and creamy combo of jam and brie is just decadent enough to pass as a dessert for me. I mean, it kinda looks like a layer cake, right? Especially when you cut it in half horizontally and smear an extra layer of jam in the middle.
Pretty, right? (For all of five seconds.)
This is where the prettiness ends, cause once we pop this sucker in the oven it gets all oozy and melty. But not too melty. We don't want it laying in a flat puddle on the plate. Although, if you do this by accident, don't worry. It will still taste amazing. I know, because I've done it.
And I came dang close to letting completely melt this time around because I didn't factor in all the time I spent photographing the brie before it went in the oven, so it was already plenty warm.
I'm sure you won't have the same problem; however, I recommend using a kitchen timer just in case. This cheese melts very quickly. Mine looked like this after exactly five minutes in the oven.
And if you're wondering, where's the puff pastry? You're thinking of a whole different recipe. Puff pastry is involved in a fancier version of baked brie called Brie en Croute. It's yummy and all but requires a bit more planning. Some of us don't have the time or forethought (whoops) to thaw out frozen puff pastry dough in the fridge.
Honestly, I like the freedom of grabbing cheese from the fridge, jam from my pantry + a few fresh ingredients like lemon & rosemary (if I have them) and fixing an appetizer in about fifteen minutes.
Brie en Croute is something I'd save for a holiday. Mayhaps with homemade cranberry sauce as the topping. Plus, when I'm already eating baked brie with crackers or bread, I find puff pastry a bit of an overkill. Maybe that's just me!
Notes & Tips
- After setting out at room temperature for awhile (or in the fridge), the brie will start to harden again so it'll be harder to spread or dip as an appetizer. You can eat it like this, or pop it in the oven/broiler for a few minutes to re-soften.
- If you like your baked brie less sweet but still want to use jam, simply halve the amount of jam (as well as the add-ins). It'll still taste yummy, but more cheesy with a hint of sweetness.
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If you live near a Kroger and want to pick up a jar of this Smucker's Fruit and Honey Fruit Spread to try, click here first to snag a coupon!
I'd like to hear from YOU!
What is your favorite way to use Fruit & Honey Fruit Spread? Have you ever tried a fruit jam on baked brie before? What's your favorite baked brie combo?
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of The J.M. Smucker Company®. The opinions and text are all mine.
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This post has been shared at Worthwhile Wednesdays, The Wednesday Roundup, and Whimsy Wednesdays.