We hosted a fondue night for friends last week and decided to try an appetizer of baked brie with toasted pecans, drizzled in warm maple syrup. Either of these on their own would easily make my list of top “stranded desert island” fare, but together they were a triad of decadence that did not last long on the plate.
This is a quick and easy appetizer that offers a refreshing variation to the traditional Brie and baguette duo that many hosts foist upon their guests. Once you’ve tried a warm creamy Brie or Camembert, dressed in any fashion, your self restraint for second helpings will be nil, and you will forever turn your nose up at Brie that has not seen the inside of an oven.
Total Time: 40 Minutes (mostly baking and cooling time)
1 small or medium wheel of Brie or Camembert
1/3 cup of pecans (in halves or pieces)
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp maple syrup
Baguette or crackers for serving
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. On a baking sheet, or Brie baking dish with lid, bake the Brie until it is soft to the touch, about 15-20 minutes.
2. Place the Brie on the serving tray and let cool for 15 minutes. Make small pin pricks with a fork on the top of the cheese or make a slight indentation on the top inner part of the cheese with your fingers to pool as much as the syrup in the middle when you pour it over later on. I was multi-tasking in the kitchen so neglected to do this well, but it didn’t affect the sweet creaminess of the finished product.
3. While the Brie cools, place the pecans on the baking sheet and toast them in the oven at the same temperature for 7-10 minutes. Baked pecans give off a delicious fragrance that will torment you. Keep a close eye on the pecans so that they don’t burn. Remove from the oven and sprinkle over the cheese.
4. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the maple syrup and brown sugar and stir well as you bring it to a boil, then let simmer for 2 minutes. Drizzle this syrupy mixture over the cheese and pecans and serve warm with a baguette or crackers.
If you’ve never tried baked Brie, you’ll be surprised and delighted once you’ve cut into the still slightly-warmed Brie for the first time and experience the rich creaminess that oozes out like white magma.