Who doesn’t love a great crowd-pleasing appetizer? I don’t think I’ve ever had a guest who didn’t love this baked brie with brown sugar and pecans! I mean, what’s not to like!
I had actually planned to make this for a Super Bowl party, but I got side-tracked with some other food, and I completely forgot. All was not lost, though, because my husband and I cooked it the next night and had it for dinner. Yes, I realize that it doesn’t contain all of the necessary food groups, but it was like health food compared to what we indulged on during the Super Bowl!
This is one of those appetizers that’s also perfect if unexpected guests drop by. A wheel of brie lasts quite a while in your refrigerator, so if you have one in your cheese drawer, odds are good that you’ll have the rest of the ingredients already at home.
I usually have a package of some kind of nuts in my pantry, and, if not, there’s usually a package in my freezer. By the way, the freezer is a great way to store nuts, especially when using them in baking. Walnuts, pecans, almonds and even pine nuts, they can all be expensive at the store, so if you catch them on sale, just buy them and freeze them. You can take them out of the freezer, use whatever amount you need and then seal the package in a Ziploc bag and throw them back in the freezer.
If you’ve never used brie cheese before, it usually comes in a circular package (hence the term “wheel of brie”), or in pie shaped triangular pieces. It comes with a white rind on the outside of the brie. It’s completely edible. Now, try not to freak out when I explain what this white rind is. I always used to think it was some kind of white edible paper. I wish I just would have stuck with that thought. Ignorance is bliss. But I research everything (my bff is Google), so I looked it up to see if I was right.
So the white rind on the outside of brie is, in fact, a white mold called Penicillum candidum. Cheesemakers inoculate the cheese with it. The edible mold blooms on the outside of the paste, and then they pat it down, over and over again, and this forms the rind. This whole process is what gives brie it’s flavor. I will just say that I’m allergic to penicillin, and I’ve never had a problem with this, so don’t panic if you have the same allergy. Adding the word “candidum” to this term doesn’t exactly make me feel any better about it.
You know how they say, “misery loves company”? Well, essentially, that’s what I just did to you. I will have to suffer through the rest of my life, knowing what’s on that delicious wheel of brie cheese, and now so will you. I’m sorry. I’m selfish that way. Don’t even get me started with bleu cheese!
Back to the recipe… For this recipe, my preference for nuts is pecans, but on this particular day, I only had walnuts, and it was just as delicious. My recipe also calls for whiskey, but you can use bourbon or brandy, if that’s what you prefer or have on hand. You are also only using a small amount and then baking it, so you don’t need to worry about alcohol content. The alcohol gets burned off in the oven and you are just left with the flavor.
This appetizer gets baked at a very high temperature (500 F), so I use a heavy oven-safe pan to bake it in and then carefully transfer it to a serving tray or plate so that nobody burns their hands on the pan that was in the oven. It’s also a good idea to spray a little PAM in the baking pan before putting the cheese in it so that the cheese and toppings won’t stick.
You can serve this with bread or crackers (I prefer crackers), and I always slice up an apple to serve along beside it. There’s something about the creaminess of the cheese and the sweetness of the brown sugar that work so well with the tartness of an apple. My favorites for this are Granny Smith or Pink Lady. And to keep the apple from turning brown, squeeze a little lemon or lime juice over the apple slices and toss.
I hope you enjoy the very simple but delicious baked brie appetizer. Put it out at your next celebration (or eat it for dinner with your spouse!), and I know it will be very popular.
Hope you are celebrating something fun today. Thanks for stopping by my website and reading my blog!
- 1 Wheel of Brie Cheese
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
- 2 tbls whiskey or brandy
- Preheat your oven to 500 degrees. Prepare a baking pan with PAM spray.
- In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, nuts and whiskey; stir to combine.
- Place brie in the center of baking pan and bake for 5 minutes.
- Take brie out of the oven and spoon brown sugar topping all over the top and down the sides of the cheese.
- Bake for another 5 minutes, or until brie is melting.
- Serve with crackers or sourdough bread and sliced apples that have been coated lightly with lemon or lime juice.