Baked brie is an entertaining staple. The possibilities of what a brie can be stuffed with are endless. Savory, sweet, piquant, hot, spicy, cool, refreshing. And always wrapped in puff pastry. Freezing beforehand helps to maintain the shape and hold the runny cheese inside. I accidentally found a way to do it without the puff pastry! What was a necessity for the the salvation of a ripe brie in tossing the whole thing into the freezer, ended up being a new way to serve a bake brie. And it held together better than the puff pastry – egg-washed ones from the past!
Freezing is the key. DO NOT DEFROST!
Being a fan of the vacuum sealer method prior to freezing, I sucked the air out. It is not critical to do so, but it does prevent freezer burn. Wrapping in a couple of layers of plastic wrap and a baggie works too. Put the sealed brie into the freezer. Mine was in there for a couple of weeks, but a small brie will solidly freeze within a few hours. Make sure it is rock hard. Do not allow it to thaw or come to room temp before baking. Have the oven ready. Pop it in and bake away. The frozen skin of the brie created a sealed membrane that held the gooey, warm inner part of the cheese inside.
Cutting air vents.
Not necessary. The air vent in the top of the cheese formed naturally. The heart shaped vent was pure chance, and it did look lovely when it sealed back over on the second baking to heat up the jam.
The baking dish for the baked brie became the serving dish. Not wanting to risk the outer skin of the cheese breaking open, which had allowed the elimination of a puff pastry crust, it seemed best to bake and serve from the same dish. This is where having a variety of baking dishes that easily double as serving pieces helps.
Variations on the theme of baked brie.
As mentioned earlier, brie can be stuffed with a wide variety of flavorings. From fresh pesto to maple syrup drenched walnuts, brie is a cheese that takes to many flavors. Needless to say, jam was at hand. The blackberry jam gave sweet, tart and texture. Usually a brie is filled before baking. Since this one started from in a rock-hard state, there was no way to cut it open, plus that would have prevented the skin from forming a tight barrier. Mind you, this was an experiment and when pulled from the oven, it was a pleasant surprise to find it had held together. I anticipated the antithesis.
Filling post first bake.
With a solidly encased brie, a perfectly vented-self-made steam hole, spooning in the jam was easy. It only took a few spoonfuls, and worried that it would overflow, less seemed like a good idea. Whatever the brie is filled with will heat up on the second baking and will easily spread throughout the brie as it is scooped into.
Crackers or bread?
Something solid that will not droop under the weight of the runny brie and soft jam. Flavored crackers add another flavor dimension to the brie, and if the filling is one that blends with the flavored cracker, go for it. French bread is a natural base. Sliced fresh French bread works nicely, or slightly toasted gives another texture element to the runny brie. We opted for water biscuits, so that the flavors did not compete. Ripe brie, sweet-tart blackberry preserves, it seemed like a perfect summer evening…until the mosquitos descended.
And in the end.
The heart shaped vent sealed up with the runny cheese and through the translucent covering, the purple jam made a lovely outline.
Guests enjoyed it. At least the results would lean in that direction.
Other baked brie recipes to try:
Baked Brie In Puff Pastry (the classic) from Carlsbad Cravings
Praline Pecan Brie en Croûte from Melissa’s Southern Style Kitchen
4 Ingredient Garlic Baked Brie from Girl and The Kitchen (This one is without the puff pastry! Good to know we are not alone out there.
Preheat oven to 400°F/200°C Place frozen brie in an ovenproof baking dish. Bake for 7-8 minutes at 400°F/200°C. Lower oven temperature to 350°F/175°C. Bake for 15 minutes to ensure that the inside is fully warmed. Remove from oven. If a vent hole has formed, add the jam into the cracked space. If a vent has not opened, make a small incision with the tip of a knife. Gently spoon the jam into the hole and under the skin of the brie. The hold may widen a bit. It will seal back over during the second bake. Return the jam-filled brie to the oven for 5-6 minutes. Remove and serve while hot with crackers or crusty French bread.
Jam-Filled Brie Sans Croûte
Preheat oven to 400°F/200°C
Place frozen brie in an ovenproof baking dish.
Bake for 7-8 minutes at 400°F/200°C.
Lower oven temperature to 350°F/175°C.
Bake for 15 minutes to ensure that the inside is fully warmed.
Remove from oven. If a vent hole has formed, add the jam into the cracked space.
If a vent has not opened, make a small incision with the tip of a knife.
Gently spoon the jam into the hole and under the skin of the brie. The hold may widen a bit. It will seal back over during the second bake.
Return the jam-filled brie to the oven for 5-6 minutes.
Remove and serve while hot with crackers or crusty French bread.