It’s so interesting to consider what people are eating across the world at any given mealtime. Today we had our “main meal” for lunch rather than at dinner and we were wondering how many people were also eating baked brie with cranberry sauce and mushroom bourguignon. Probably not too many! Leah and I are trying to make the most of this break, as this is likely to be our last month-long Christmas at home now that we’re halfway through senior year (!!!!what!). Meals like this one are just the thing. Neither of these recipes are particularly fancy–we got the wheel of brie at Aldi!–yet they are elegant and richly flavored, suitable for a comforting meal at home, for lunch, for dinner, for guests…
This brie really stood out. You first prepare a homemade cranberry sauce, which is one of the lowest-effort-highest-reward homemade versions of something commonly purchased in stores. You spoon the sauce over the brie, top with a generous layer of chopped hazelnuts, and bake until melting. Sweet, savory, tart, buttery, crunchy: a delightful appetizer that can be started and finished within 30 minutes. This is a dish of contrasts in flavors and is sure to be well-received (6 adults here ate an entire 1-pound wheel alone!).
Baked Brie with Cranberry Sauce and Hazelnuts
Makes 1 wheel of baked brie
1 lb. wheel of brie
1 cup of sugar
3/4 cup of water
1/4 tsp. salt
1 12-ounce bag of cranberries (make sure to remove any sad cranberries!)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. orange zest
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
Heavy 1/4 cup hazelnuts, unroasted and roughly chopped
Fresh rosemary to garnish
Assorted crackers for serving
Preheat oven to 425F. Peel or slice off the top rind of the brie. Place the cheese in a small baking dish like a pie pan. If you plan to transfer the cheese to a serving dish after baking, line the pie pan with a square of parchment paper for easy transfer.
Bring sugar, water, and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring periodically so that the sugar dissolves. Stir in cranberries and return to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the cranberries are saucy and slightly thickened, and about two-thirds of the berries have popped open (about 5 minutes). Add the vanilla, orange zest, and nutmeg. Spoon about half of the cranberry mixture over the brie (you’ll have about half left, which you can stir into yogurt, spread on scones, etc.), and then sprinkle the top with hazelnuts.
Bake for 8 to 12 minutes, until the fruit is bubbling and the cheese is gooey and melting. Baking times will vary–take the cheese out after it has softened, but just before it collapses (we baked ours a smidge too long, but collapsing melty cheese is not a terrible problem!).
Transfer to a serving dish if desired. Top with fresh rosemary to garnish and serve warm with crackers. Enjoy!