Growing up, we spent the holidays at our aunt’s house in Pennsylvania. On Christmas Eve, we always went to her neighbors’ house for a party. While the other kids played hide-and-seek and made forts, I would park myself by the baked brie and go to town. It still lives on in my mind as a magical, warm holiday treat. So, this week, we’re finishing up our month of party appetizers with this bite-sized baked brie from Michelle of Hummingbird High. With only a handful of ingredients, these cheesy starters are perfect for winter entertaining…
Bite-Sized Baked Brie With Honey and Rosemary
by Michelle Lopez of Hummingbird High
I used to watch my mom throw whirlwind dinner parties every Friday evening. There would be lots of conversation, laughter and, of course, wine and good food. I always thought I’d end up having those same kinds of parties when I grew up.
Almost twenty years later, however, I’ve yet to throw a party as classy and successful as my mom’s. The handful I’ve hosted always seem to end up with me yelling conversations from the kitchen as I frantically try to cook the ambitious recipe I’ve committed to. What a stark contrast from my calm, polished mother who never appeared to have any disasters in the kitchen! Instead, there she always was, with a plate of great appetizers and a bottle of wine to refill everyone’s glasses.
To this day, I still don’t know how she did it, but I’ve picked up a few tips and tricks along the way to make entertaining easier. One of my secrets is this recipe for bite-sized baked brie drizzled with honey and fresh rosemary. Everybody loves a warm, buttery, cheesy pastry and this recipe certainly delivers. The best part is that despite looking like you slaved away in the kitchen for hours, it comes together in only 20 minutes or so. It’s the perfect starter to whet everyone’s appetites, all the while giving you enough breathing room in the kitchen — and more time to enjoy that glass of wine.
Recipe: Bite-Sized Baked Brie With Honey and Rosemary
1 pound of puff pastry (one package of two sheets, frozen), thawed enough to be malleable but still cold
4 oz brie with the rinds removed, cold
4 oz (1/4 cup) dark honey, plus more for drizzling
1 sprig of fresh rosemary
1 large egg, gently whisked
Coarse sea salt, for sprinkling
Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375F. Prepare two 9 x 13-inch baking sheets by lining each with parchment paper.
On a gently floured surface, roll out 1/2 pound (1 sheet) of puff pastry; be sure to keep the other sheet in the fridge so it stays chilled. Working quickly, use a 2 1/2- to 3-inch round cookie cutter or an upside down glass to stamp out as many circles as you can. You should end up with six or seven circles at this point.
Place about one small tablespoon of brie in the center of half of the circles you made. If your brie doesn’t fit in the circle, you can use your hands to roll the cheese into a ball, then press down on it to create a disc that will fit nicely in the circle. Add a dollop of honey (around 1/2 teaspoon or so) on top of the brie. Tear a couple rosemary leaves off from your sprig and sprinkle them on top of the brie and honey.
Take the remaining puff pastry circles and place one over each circle prepared with brie and rosemary. Use a fork to press the edges of the two puff pastry circles together to create a little patty held together by crimps from the fork. Don’t be shy: the more definitive your crimps are at this stage, the prettier your end result will be, even if it looks like the crimps are tearing the pastry apart.
If your fork starts to get stuck to the pastry, dip it in a small bowl of flour to prevent it from sticking. Prick the top of each circle lightly with a fork and transfer all the circles to a prepared baking sheet. Chill the baking sheet in the freezer while you roll out the second pastry sheet and repeat the steps above.
Once you’ve finished your second tray of pastries, transfer it to the freezer to chill. Working quickly, remove the first tray and use a pastry brush to brush the whisked egg over the top of each circle. Sprinkle with sea salt. Transfer the tray to your preheated oven to bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown.
Remove from oven and allow the pastries to cool slightly on a warm rack before drizzling with honey and serving immediately. Repeat with the second tray of pastries. These bites are best served warm, about 10 to 15 minutes or so out the oven.
Thank you so much, Michelle!