Our recipe for baked brie with honey popcorn takes the classic brie en croute (in pastry) to a more fun level. We love all bries, a French soft cow’s milk cheese with a slightly sharper rind. And if we were serving this on a cheeseboard without the pastry, we might choose a double cream brie (which contains 60 to 75% milkfat). Or, dare we say it, a triple cream brie with is a heavenly taste experience. But we’ll stick to a regular round brie for this already decadent appetizer.
Brie has a fairly mild, buttery flavor but if you like a slightly stronger, earthier taste, camembert might be more to your liking and can usually be found in small rounds as well.
We prefer to leave the rind on to help the cheese hold its shape in the oven and the rind is fully edible. But you can always peel it off afterwards if you choose. Brie cheese itself has been around for centuries but the idea of baking it, with or without a pastry, became popular as an appetizer in the 1990’s. For many of us, it has become a traditional holiday season party food. We serve it to Thanksgiving guests along with cocktails, at Christmas and all friend gatherings in between. It’s always a hit and we can’t disagree. The cheese itself is delicious but when baked, it turns gooey and melty and perfect for dipping bread or fruit into. Sort of like a ready made fondue. Baking it in a sheet of puff pastry just adds to the flavor experience because who doesn’t like all that flaky pastry with a creamy cheese center? Brie pairs beautifully with sweet flavors so many people spread fruit jam on top before baking. For us, the ultimate sweet and brie combo is honey so that’s what we used. And you all know how we love a crunch so our topping of choice was popcorn, generously drizzled with even more honey.
So we have creamy, melted cheese, flaky pastry, crunchy popcorn and sweet honey. Who wants to come to our holiday party?
Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Note that if you're working with frozen puff pastry dough, let it defrost in the refrigerator overnight. If you need to, lightly dust your fingers with flour to unroll it.
Place the sheet of dough on a lightly floured surface and the round brie cheese in the center and drizzle with a tablespoon or two of the honey.
Fold up the edges of the dough over the cheese so that the entire cheese is contained.
Beat the egg and brush it on the edges of the dough to seal and all over the dough to help promote browning. Sprinkle with the sea salt and place on a baking pan lined with parchment paper.
Bake for 30 minutes, then turn up the heat to 400 degrees and continue baking for an additional 10 to 15 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown. Top with popcorn and the remaining honey. Serve warm with slices of baguette, apples and nuts, if desired.
Store leftovers wrapped in the refrigerator.
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