Webisode: Holiday Soirée

Today’s holiday webisode marks the final installment for 2011 and I hope you’ve enjoyed watching the series as much as I’ve enjoyed creating it. And with the release of my tenth webisode I would love to hear from you, dear readers, as I’m plotting an exciting 2012 season. What would you like to see more of, less of or can’t get enough of? Please share you comments below. But first, let’s make some Baked Brie Wrapped in Puff Pastry and Rebecca Marie’s Spiked Spiced Cider. Enjoy, y’all!

Baked Brie Wrapped in Puff Pastry

Serves 8
My mom has been making Baked Brie Wrapped in Puff Pastry for years and it’s one of those super indulgent dishes that I only eat around the holidays. Once baked, the cheese oozes out of the flaky puff pastry and the sweetness from the preserves rounds out the flavors. I like to use fig preserves at Christmas time but you can use anything you like – pumpkin butter, raspberry jam or my new favorite, homemade guava jam. 

1 sheet of frozen puff pastry, defrosted
1 15 ounce round of brie cheese
2 tablespoons fig preserves
1 egg

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. While the puff pastry defrosts, evenly spread preserves on top of the round of cheese.

Once the puff pastry is defrosted, lightly dust a rolling pin and a cutting board or marble slab with flour. Gently roll out the pastry until it is more than large enough to fully enclose the cheese.

Set the cheese, preserve side down, directly in the middle of the pastry and bring the dough up and around it, tucking it into a nice little package (imagine you are wrapping a gift). Using scissors or a knife, trim an inch or two of the puff pastry (there should be some overlap) to be used for decorations. Flip the brie and place it seam side down on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Using festively themed cookie cutters, cut several shapes out of the extra puff pastry and set aside.

Beat the egg in a small bowl and add a tablespoon of water. Using a brush, lightly paint the pastry wrapped cheese with the egg wash, which will help it become golden in hue. Arrange the cutouts in a decorative pattern on the top and the sides (the egg wash functions as glue, as well).

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the pastry has puffed up and turned golden. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes so the cheese sets. Serve alongside slices of apples and fresh bread.

*download a printable version HERE

Rebecca Marie’s Spiked Spiced Cider 

Serves 8
My friend Rebecca was a bartender for years and turned me on to her recipe for Spiked Spiced Cider. It’s become my go-to drink to serve at a holiday party not only because it reminds me of my friend but also because it’s cozy, aromatic and takes two minutes to prepare. Becky also had the genius idea of making this in the slow cooker, which keeps it warm for the length of your party. If you don’t have a slow cooker, make this on the stove top and keep the heat on low. 

1 gallon of apple cider
5 cinnamon sticks
1 heaping tablespoon of whole cloves
1 apple, thinly sliced and dusted with ground cinnamon
bourbon, brandy, whisky or rum

Pour the apple cider into a slow cooker and add cinnamon sticks, cloves and apple slices. Give it a nice stir and heat on high until heated through. Turn the heat to low or “keep warm” and serve in mugs over a shot of bourbon, brandy, whisky or rum. Garnish with a cinnamon stick and an apple slice and remove cloves.

*download a printable version HERE