One of the easiest and most elegant appetizers you can make for a gathering is baked brie.
Baking a round of brie for a few minutes in the oven makes it all melty and oozy, and transforms it from something already wonderful to completely irresistible.
For this baked brie recipe we are making a sweet and sour caramelized honey sauce, and drizzling it over the brie with chopped toasted hazelnuts.
The sweet tartness of the sauce helps cut through the richness of the brie. It’s really a perfect way to enjoy this cheese.
The caramelized honey sauce is a classic French glaze called a “gastrique”. It’s one of those simple tricks of the trade that chefs use to provide razzle dazzle to a dish.
Most references I found for gastrique would have you caramelize the honey first, then stir in some vinegar and reduce. I found that one can just as easily stir honey and vinegar together, bring it to a simmer, and reduce the sauce until it turns a warm shade of amber.
I’ve also made the sauce with brown sugar in place of honey. That works too! Though I think I prefer the flavor of honey with the brie.
You can use this sauce to swirl over other cheeses as well, melted or not.
Honey Hazelnut Baked Brie RecipePrint
If starting with raw hazelnuts, toast them by spreading them out on a sheet pan and roasting them in a 350°F for 15 minutes, or until the skins start to split. Remove from oven and place in a clean dish towel, rub to remove the outer skins.
- 1 (8-ounce, 225 g) round of brie (we recommend President brand, it melts well)
- 1/4 cup toasted hazelnuts (skins removed), lightly chopped
- 1/2 cup (120 ml) sherry vinegar or apple cider vinegar
- 5 Tbsp honey
- Pinch of salt
- 1 small sprig rosemary
1 Make the sauce: Place the vinegar, honey, salt, and 5 or 6 needles from the rosemary sprig into a small saucepan. Stir to combine. Heat on medium high heat until simmering. Then lower the heat to low and simmer until the mixture starts to darken in color and the consistency thickens to a thin syrup, about 5 to 10 minutes. (Note if you find that you have over-reduced the sauce, resulting in hard candy not syrup, you can add water to it and heat it again.)
Remove from heat and stir in the hazelnuts.
2 Bake the brie: While the sauce is simmering, start on the brie. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Use a serrated knife to slice off the very top of the brie round, exposing the cheese on one side. Place on a parchment paper or Silpat lined baking sheet (cut side up). Bake until just soft and bubbly, about 15 minutes. (Jiggle the pan to see if the cheese has melted all the way through.)
3 Drizzle the brie with sauce: Remove the brie from the oven and let it cool for a minute or two. Use a metal spatula (or two) to carefully transfer it to a serving dish. Drizzle the honey vinegar hazelnut sauce over the brie. Garnish with the sprig of rosemary.
Serve with sliced tart apples.
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