Saturday, December 24, 2016

Brie en Croute (Baked Brie in Puff Pastry)

It's Christmas Eve, when our family celebrates in true German tradition.  Last year, I made this appetizer, and it was gone in a flash.  Puff pastry is a product that can make some of the prettiest, and simplest, appetizers! Baked Brie is a tasty, and easy appetizer to make for your next holiday party.

All you need to do is buy a 13-16 ounce Brie round. The night before, thaw a sheet of puff pastry.
Preheat the oven to 400F.

Roll the puff pastry into a 14-inch square on a lightly floured surface.  I didn't photograph where I put a "schmear" of raspberry jam (apricot works well, too).  You can add about an ounce of sliced, toasted, almonds if you desire.  Then place the Brie on the center and fold the pastry up and over the cheese.  Flip it over onto a parchment covered baking sheet. Cut off any excess puff pastry. I used the extra puff pastry to cut out some leaf shapes with some small cutters that I have.

Beat one egg with water, and brush it all all over your Brie en Croute.

 There! Now pop it into the oven for about 20 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown. 

Whoa! A lava flow of melted Brie and raspberry jam is starting to flow out from the sides!

As our guests starting digging in with a cracker and knife, the warm melted Brie kept oozing out.  This is perfect with a glass of cold Prosecco-- in my opinion.

If you've never made this easy appetizer, give it a try. This will be part of our New Year's Eve quiet evening at home, with family and a few friends.

Happy New Year!


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Friday, December 23, 2016

Old-Fashioned Pecan Pie (No Corn Syrup)

Hello everyone! Hello? Anybody there? Yes, I'm back from my silence in food blogging. I've been cooking (mostly fast and easy) and baking (a lot), but I just needed to take a break from blogging. I'm sure it's cost me a loss of readership, and I regret that. I admire food bloggers who have a full-time job AND who blog on a regular basis. I tried, but after eight years, I decided to focus on my family. Just for a bit. I won't abandon my blog forever!

Speaking of family-- this Pecan Pie was such a big hit at Thanksgiving, that I need to resurrect my blogging mojo and share it with you.  Christmas is just two days away, and if you're wanting to add a holiday pie to your menu, this version change my opinion of Pecan Pie forever!

Don't get me wrong, because I do love pecans!   I usually skip Pecan Pie, or opt for just a sliver-- because I find that the filling is cloyingly sweet and gloppy.  I think it's the corn syrup that's the culprit. I found a recipe from one of my most trusted sources: "Cook's Country", and I liked that maple syrup is used, instead of corn syrup.  Since we use pure maple syrup for pancakes and waffles, it's always on hand. 

I keep an assortment of nuts in my freezer so they don't go rancid. Here we go! First, I toast the pecans for better flavor.

For the filling, we start with brown sugar, heavy cream and a touch of molasses...

... to build a custard-like filling, we add heavy cream, butter, egg yolks and a touch of salt.

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