Baked Brie en Croute, or Brie cheese baked in puff pastry, is the ultimate simple, yet decadent holiday appetizer. The melted cheese is irresistible when topped with sweet-tart cranberries and toasted pecans then baked to gooey perfection in a flaky golden pastry crust.
If cheese is milk’s leap towards immortality, then cheese appetizers are the ultimate appetizer. Whether it’s a cracker topped with Pimento Cheese Spread or a stunning Caprese Appetizer Wreath, cheese elevates your holiday table in every way.
Brie en Croute with Cranberries and Pecans
Recently, my eldest son reminisced about the time I took everyone to the zoo and brought a Brie en Croute for their lunch. This was probably around 17 years ago but that gooey cheese is still imprinted on his brain!
Let’s just say this holiday appetizer is a memorable one. When Brie cheese is warmed up, you can taste all the lively flavours of the Brie cheese. It becomes wonderfully runny and is most delicious on crackers or slathered onto slices of French baguette.
A wheel of Brie baked inside flaky golden pastry is a sight to behold. It’s one of those impressive appetizers that carries a huge secret. The secret is that it takes almost no effort at all! I’m sharing this cheese appetizer recipe with you in hopes that I can help make your holiday prep easier and a little less stressful.
What Does Baked ‘en Croute’ Mean?
In French culinary terms ‘en Croûte’ is used to refer to foods wrapped in pastry (either puff pastry or regular pie pastry), then baked in the oven. Besides brie cheese, other foods typically cooked ‘en croute’ are salmon and beef (also known as Salmon or Beef Wellington).
French sounds fancy, so we call it ‘Brie en Croute’ (pronounced Bree-on-Kroot) which translates to ‘Brie in Crust’ in English. However, the fun doesn’t stop there. Before being wrapped in pastry, the brie may be topped with jam, jellies, dried fruit, honey, or nuts. Depending on the toppings, Brie en Croute may be served as an appetizer or as a dessert.
Ingredients for Brie en Croute
You can’t go wrong with a four-ingredient appetizer recipe, especially when the star ingredient is cheese.
- Puff Pastry
- Brie Cheese
- Cranberry Sauce
It may seem too good to be true but this four-ingredient recipe includes store bought puff pastry. During the holidays this ready-made buttery layered pastry is a God send for busy cooks everywhere. In this recipe, the puff pastry encloses the brie, holds in all the ingredients, and looks good while doing it.
Brie is a soft cow’s milk cheese named after Brie, the region in France from which it originated. This style of creamy, high fat (60-75% butterfat) soft cheese is enclosed in an edible rind of white mould. Generally, brie is made in larger wheels (23 to 37 cm/9 to 14.5 inches in diameter) and sold in wedges. For this recipe you will need one that is around 10 cm (4 inches) in diameter.
Camembert is similar to Brie and makes a suitable replacement for it in this recipe. Since Camembert is slightly lower in fat than Brie, it is slightly runnier when baked.
How to Wrap Brie Cheese in Puff Pastry
*Preheat oven to 350 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
There are several ways to wrap a wheel of Brie cheese in puff pastry. The easiest way is to leave the puff pastry whole. Simply unroll it and place it directly onto parchment paper. Place the Brie cheese in the center of the pastry. Next, use a sharp knife to slice the top rind off the Brie, keeping it as thin as possible.
Spread the cranberry sauce on top of the open Brie, then scatter the pecans over the sauce. Fold the pastry over the cheese in a circular motion and trim the excess pastry.
Alternatively, you can remove the corners of the pastry sheet in advance, so that it mimics the round shape of the cheese. Fold the pastry over the open cheese, cranberries, and pecans in a circular motion, like if you were shaping a soup dumpling. Leave a hole open in the center of the pastry so that steam escapes while it bakes.
The final method is to use two sheets of puff pastry. Lay the bottom pastry down on a sheet of parchment paper and cut in a circular motion around the cheese, leaving an inch or two as overlap. Do the same with the second sheet of puff pastry, using the thickness of the cheese as a gauge.
Place the top pastry over Slice and top the brie as instructed above, then place the top pastry over the cheese. Allow it to drape over the edges. Brush an egg yolk wash over the edges of the bottom pastry and pinch them together. Crimp with a fork to seal and slice a few holes in the top pastry to allow steam to escape.
How to Bake Brie en Croute
Before baking, brush the top of the puff pastry with melted butter, egg yolk, or sprinkle a little brown sugar on top to add a little sweetness.
Place the Brie on the prepared baking sheet and bake in a preheated 350 F oven for about 30 minutes. When it is ready, the pastry is golden brown and flaky.
Allow the cheese to cool for 10 minutes before serving. Serve Brie en Croute with crackers and/or sliced baguette.
Brie en Croute Flavour Variations
There are so many ways to change up this recipe. Try these savoury topping variations in your next Brie en Croute:
- olives, roasted red peppers, and artichokes
- walnuts and rosemary
- mushrooms and thyme
- caramelized onions and herbs
- pesto, sun dried tomatoes, and pine nuts
- bacon and mushrooms
- roasted garlic and mushrooms
- red pepper jelly
For the sweet tooths among us, here are a few sweet Brie en Croute flavour combinations:
- brown sugar, cinnamon, and walnuts
- honey and nuts
- apple compote
- pumpkin butter
- any kind of jam or jelly
- berries (fresh or dried)
And a few ‘in between’ flavours for good measure:
- honey and truffle
- pear/fig/apricot and thyme or rosemary
- prosciutto and pear
- maple and bacon
Make Ahead and Reheating Instructions
Yes, you can make Brie en Croute ahead of time. Simply wrap the brie in pastry, cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to one day. Alternatively, you can freeze Brie en Croute for up to one month. Wrap the brie tightly in plastic wrap and transfer to a freezer bag before placing in the freezer.
Bake from frozen (do not thaw prior to baking!). Remove the plastic wrap from the brie en croute and brush with the egg yolk or butter (sprinkle brown sugar for extra sweetness). Bake in an oven preheated to 350-degrees for 50-55 minutes.
Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days.
If you make this Brie en Croute with Cranberries and Pecans, please be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Be sure to follow me on Facebook and Pinterest for my latest recipes. Also, if you do make this recipe, please tag me on Instagram, I’d love to see what you guys are making! Thank you so much for reading my blog.
- 1 sheet puff pastry; thawed according to package directions
- 1 8 oz. round of Brie Cheese
- 1/3 cup whole cranberry sauce
- 1/4 pecans; toasted and chopped
- Preheat oven to 350 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Use a sharp knife to slice the top rind off the Brie. Try to keep it as thin as possible.
- Unroll the puff pastry onto the parchment paper and place the Brie wheel in the center.
- Spread the cranberry sauce on top of the Brie, then scatter the pecans over the sauce.
- Fold the pastry over the cheese in a circular motion and remove any excess.
- Bake the Brie for about 30 minutes, until the pastry becomes golden brown and flaky.
- Allow the Brie en Croute to cool for 10 minutes before serving.
- Serve Brie en Croute with crackers and/or sliced baguette.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 177Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 38mgSodium: 250mgCarbohydrates: 8gFiber: 0gSugar: 5gProtein: 8g
Nutritional calculation was provided by Nutritionix and is an estimation only. For special diets or medical issues please use your preferred calculator.