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      RECIPE TITLE "Cranberry Holiday Brie" recipe from Paula Deen, Author of Paula Deen Celebrates!


    ... more great Paula Deen recipes on our GREAT CHEFS page!

    yieldsServes 12 time--difficultyeasy

    I just love Christmas, don't you? And I love our family traditions, like this special appetizer which starts almost every Christmas dinner at my house, but wouldn’t be out of place on the Thanksgiving table or at a holiday open house.

    Even though we can get cranberries year round, I still think of them as a holiday fruit. But they’re not just for sauce any more! Here I've combined dried cranberries with toasted almonds, apricot jam and rich, rich Brie cheese, all wrapped up in a puff pastry crust. Cut into the cheese and see the creamy Brie ooze out, and the red cranberries--so festive! And when you taste the melting cheese with the sweet-tart fruit, crunchy nuts, and crisp, buttery pastry--oh my!

    And the best part, girls? It looks like you spent hours in the kitchen, but it's so easy! --Paula Deen

      RECIPE INGREDIENTS

    1 sheet (1/2 package) frozen puff pastry dough
    1 egg
    3/4 cup apricot preserves
    2 tablespoons orange juice
    1/3 cup dried cranberries
    1/4 cup toasted sliced almonds
    1 Brie cheese, about 13 ounces
    Water crackers

      RECIPE METHOD

    1. Allow the pastry sheet to thaw in the package about 30 minutes, until pliable. Preheat the oven to 400°F. In a small bowl, beat the egg with 1 teaspoon water to make an egg wash. Set aside.

    2. Lightly flour a large wooden cutting board and roll out the pastry dough into a 14-inch square. Cut off the corners to make a circle. Save the extra dough to cut into decorative shapes for a garnish. Spread the apricot preserves on the pastry, leaving a 2-inch margin all around edge.

    3. Pour the orange juice into a small glass dish and add the cranberries, allowing them to absorb the flavor of the orange juice for about 5 minutes, until the cranberries are soft. Drain the cranberries. Arrange the cranberries evenly on top of apricot preserves. Arrange the almonds evenly on the cranberries. Place the Brie on top of the almonds. Brush the edges of the puff pastry with the egg wash. Completely seal the Brie in the puff pastry. Seal the edges by brushing the egg wash on one edge, as if you are gluing the edge together.

    4. Spray a baking sheet with vegetable-oil cooking spray. Place the Brie seam side down on the sheet. Decorate the top with pastry cut-outs, rerolling scraps of dough, if desired. Brush the top with the remaining egg wash.

    5. Bake for 20 minutes. Allow to sit for at least 30 minutes before serving; the cheese will ooze out if cut it too early! Serve with crackers.


    HOT! We recommend:

    Paula Deen Celebrates!: Best Dishes and Best Wishes for the Best Times of Your Life
    Fans of Food Network star Paula Deen enjoy her unpretentious Southern-gal persona as much as her easy, what's-not-to-like recipes. As a writer of four other cookbooks, including The Lady & Sons Just Desserts, restaurant owner, and purveyor of her own product line, she's also something of an entrepreneur. In Paul Deen Celebrates! she offers 170-plus recipes arranged by menus for traditional holidays and other, sometimes whimsical celebrations like Elvis's Birthday and Movie-Watching Pizza Party in Bed. The recipes, which are often Southern-rich, range from the more traditional, such as Shrimp Etouffé, Muffuletta Sandwiches, and Macaroni Salad, to the innovative, including Collard Green Wantons, Grilled Chicken Pita, and Scallop and Bacon Pizza. Her sweets include the likes of Old Fashioned Banana Pudding, Gooey Toffee Butter Cake and Margarita Mousse. Offered also are decorating tips, and "Paula's Pearls of Wisdom" like "treasure today's moment's because they will tomorrow’s memories."

    Deen's dishes couldn't be more approachable and will doubtlessly inspire many holiday menus. Readers should know, however, that she regularly calls for convenience products like cake mixes and canned soups, whose use (by now something of an American tradition in itself) can do little to make homemade food taste as good as it otherwise might. Paula Deen Celebrates! should, however, excite Deen's many fans, who, along with the attractive formulas, receive lots of "back-story" on the author's own celebrations, life, and mostly good times. --Arthur Boehm



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