Baked Brie with Roasted Garlic in Puffed Pastry (En Croute)

This is so easy yet dramatic. Puffed pastry is available in most grocery stores in the freezer section. There are two sheets per package, so make two bries and put one unbaked in the freezer for a later date when unexpected guests visit. This is a base recipe which is enjoyable by itself, or add variations to make it even more spectacular.

one sheet puffed pastry (half of 17.03 oz package), thawed
one wheel Baby Brie (about 6-7 inches in diameter)
one egg
garlic, 4-6 bulbs
olive oil

Gently roll out dough (not very much) on lightly floured board, so pastry can encompass cheese. It should not be thin. Cut out circle in dough to amply cover brie entirely. Use extras to make decorations on top. Put about 1 1/2 cups roasted garlic filling (see below) in a circle in the center of pastry, making sure it is slightly smaller than diameter of cheese.

Cut the rind off the top of the cheese and sides. Place cheese trimmed side down in center of circle, or on top of roasted garlic (or other chosen topping). Gather dough around cheese and seal bottom making sure there are no openings.  At this point you can wrap the brie in wax paper and put in refrigerator for a few days.

When ready, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place brie bottom side down on cookie sheet. Beat egg and brush on top. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden. Serve hot with baguette slices or crackers.

Variations: Try additions such as dry sautéed mushrooms or caramelized onions (about 1 1/2 cups should do – make sure additions do not have any juice or a runny sauce). For dessert, blend a mixture of brown sugar and toasted, chopped walnuts.

To Roast Garlic: This is a little time consuming so I like doing a dozen or more at a time,  then you will have enough to add to soups, stews, sauces, eggs – or for a topping on your baked brie, when you need it. A tablespoon or so is all you usually need to liven up a dish. Cut off top of garlic, then peel off papery skin as best you can. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put bulbs in small cake pan and drizzles a little olive oil over them (about 4-5 tablespoons). Add just enough water to cover bottom of pan (about 1/2 cup). Cover with foil and bake about 45 minutes to an hour. Let cool. The bulbs will be soft, squeeze out garlic from skin, throwing the skin away (or composting). Put garlic in covered container and refrigerate until you want to use it.

WINE: For a simple brie en croute I would serve our dry Riesling or Gewurztraminer. But if toppings are added, that might change. For a mushroom topping I would serve the Pinot Noir and roasted garlic is well matched Chardonnay.

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