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Brie en Croute--an Easy and Elegant Solution for Entertaining at Home

Updated on March 20, 2016
Brie en Croute
Brie en Croute


This simple recipe was how our brie family tradition got started--before evolving to Brie en Croute.

Brie with Almonds

Preheat oven to 350°.

1 large wedge (or round) of brie cheese

1 handful of sliced almonds

1 loaf French bread

Wrap the French bread in aluminum foil and put it in the oven. Place the brie on a cookie sheet and sprinkle with a handful of sliced almonds. (If you prefer, the brie could be placed on the same dish you will serve it in. A small platter that would allow room for the bread would be nice.)

Put the brie in the 350° oven along with the bread. Let it warm for 15-20 minutes, until it starts to melt. Remove both the bread and the brie from the oven and serve with some knives.

Guests should break off chunks of bread and use individual knives to spread with brie and almonds.

IN THE BEGINNING

Back in my single-girl days—which was a long time ago—I was blessed with a small group of friends who took turns preparing “Saturday luncheons.” We were almost all in our twenties, recent college graduates in danger of starvation from the sheer lack of ability to boil an egg. My last cooking class was when the leader of our local Brownie troop spent an afternoon teaching us to make peanut butter and banana sandwiches.

The real reason we began doing “Saturday luncheons” was economic. Our little group had long made a habit of dining out on Saturdays, with the idea of combining a shopping expedition with a pleasant stop at an eatery that offered enticing mid-day prices.

After seeing our food budgets crushed by inflation, we decided we couldn’t afford to eat out. Thus began the “Saturday luncheon” tradition; we would learn to cook, and eat in.

This was not a complete disaster. In the end, we all (more or less) learned how to cook. And often any deficiencies in the cooking were forgotten along with the wine.

One of the best and most practical dishes that came out of our little group’s Saturday luncheon tradition was the idea that you could easily concoct an elegant presentation for brie cheese that would knock your guests’ socks off.

I learned about this when our little group paid an impromptu visit to our old friend, Harry Klutz. Harry was an older member of our “little group,” probably around 50 at the time, and I believe I thought of him as elderly. He lived alone in a charming two-story house that was on the National Register of Historic Places. Harry’s place featured no sign at all of modernity—probably because any upgrades would have been prohibited by law—and Harry himself was a bit of a “creature of another age.” He did not own a car and refused to drive, explaining that he had tried it once in the 1950s and decided he didn’t like it.

When we stopped for a visit that fateful afternoon, Harry whipped out a snack for us: A huge wedge of brie topped with sliced almonds and heated in a 350° oven, just to melting. He placed the warm brie with almonds on the coffee table, along with a loaf of crusty French bread, also warmed in the oven.

The idea was to break off chunks of bread and spread the chunks with the softened brie topped with almonds. See box at right for how to make Brie with Almonds.

THE EVOLUTION OF A GOOD THING

I got really fond of Harry’s old specialty in subsequent years. After I married and had a family, this delicacy became our family’s traditional Christmas Eve snack, usually served with Asti Spumante. Actually, this snack goes well with any sparkling wine or champagne—which makes it seem especially festive. It is also nice served with sliced fresh fruit, such as pears.

For many years we always did it Harry’s way. But eventually my daughters grew up and began to expand their culinary horizons. One Christmas Eve, Betsy announced that she was taking our traditional snack to the next level, and making brie en croute.

We loved it! Betsy’s younger sister later prepared this dish to serve to a college study group—and was overwhelmed with compliments on her culinary genius.

Brie en croute is best made with a wheel of brie. It is made by wrapping a wheel of brie with purchased crescent-roll dough and then baking until the wrapping is lightly browned. Could it be any easier? Here’s how you do this:

Brie en Croute

1 package prepared crescent-roll dough

1 wheel of brie cheese

Preheat oven to 350°.

Place the wheel of brie on a cookie sheet or pie pan. Peel off individual pieces of crescent-roll dough and wrap the bottom, sides, and top of the wheel of brie until it is completely covered. Try to do this more or less decoratively: Start by placing one end of the crescent-roll piece in the middle of the bottom of the wheel of brie and fold it over the side and across, to the middle of the top of the wheel. Add additional pieces of dough in the same way, overlapping the pieces, until the entire wheel of brie is covered. Decorative touches, such as pastry leaves or flowers, can be shaped from the crescent-roll dough and placed on top, if desired. (Don’t worry if you don’t feel like doing this. Everyone will be plenty impressed, even if you don’t get artistic with this dish.)

Place the brie in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes, until lightly browned—or golden brown, if you prefer.

Remove from the oven and cut into wedges to serve on individual serving dishes. This is nice served with Spumante or other sparkling wine or champagne, and sliced fresh fruit, such as pears.

NOTES: TAKING THIS ONE TO THE NEXT LEVEL

Many recipes for brie en croute call for additional ingredients. For example, almonds or other nuts can be sprinkled on top of the wheel of brie before wrapping in the dough. One recipe calls for adding dried cherries, pecans, honey, and rosemary.

Some recipes suggest wrapping the wheel of brie in puff pastry and brushing with an egg wash, to give a special sheen to the golden brown crust. An egg wash is made by beating one egg with one tablespoon of water and brushing this mixture onto the pastry-wrapped brie before baking.

Still other recipes call for wrapping the brie with puff pastry and topping with apples that have been lightly sautéed with sugar and spices: http://www.thatskinnychickcanbake.com/2012/11/apple-topped-baked-brie-en-croute-2.html

The variations of both brie with almonds and brie en croute are nearly endless, and include stuffings and toppings of mushrooms, pecans, raspberry jam, cranberries, caramel sauce, marmalade—in fact, nearly everything you can think of!

After my daughter made brie en croute for a study group at college, my daughter’s boyfriend invented his own version to serve to his family. His version was studded with diced ham. Obviously, everyone loved it. Don’t be afraid to experiment to create your own specialty!

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    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Sageleaf 3 years ago from Western NC

      Wow! Delicious and pretty easy! I love it - and anything with a little bit of dough - I'm ALL for it. :)

      Thanks for sharing this. I WILL be trying it for sure!

    • blueheron profile image
      Author

      Sharon Vile 3 years ago from Odessa, MO

      Honestly--you would be amazed how impressive it is just to sprinkle some almonds on a wedge of brie, warm it up in the oven, and serve with bread or crackers or something.

      I know I was blown away by this very simple presentation, back in my youth.

    • blueheron profile image
      Author

      Sharon Vile 3 years ago from Odessa, MO

      I have a VERY small collection of recipes like this. Another easy recipe for impressing people is madeleines. Also baked Alaska--or anything you set on fire.

    • pandula77 profile image

      pandula77 3 years ago from Norway

      You are absolutely right! It's a great way to impress your guests. The photo simply adds elegance, it seems as if it is straight from a 5 star kitchen...

    • blueheron profile image
      Author

      Sharon Vile 3 years ago from Odessa, MO

      Thank you, WiccanSage and pandula! This is one of those recipes that allow you to make people think you are a good cook and an elegant entertainer, without really trying.

      It was my daughter who came up with the idea of using crescent roll dough. I don't know where she got the idea.

      The reason it looks complex in the photo is because they went all out and cut little leaves out of the dough for decoration. We have never bothered with that. Actually, we've never even bothered with the egg wash--which is actually a very good idea. (Makes baked goods golden and shiny.) I'll have to do that next time.

    • pandula77 profile image

      pandula77 3 years ago from Norway

      A delicious hub! Hope there are many more to come.

    • WiccanSage profile image

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 3 years ago

      Wow, this looks delicious. I have to try this next time I have company over. It looked so complex in the photo, but using crescent roll dough-- how clever! That sounds so doable.