I took French back in high school. I attended a French party put on by the various classes and it was at that party that I first tasted brie cheese. It was served on French bread. Over the years I had looked at the brie in the stores but passed it by. It wasn’t that my memory of it was bad, I just preferred other types of cheese. I had certainly never had – or even heard of – baked brie, let alone pecan crusted baked brie. I came up with that idea all on my own on the spur of the moment tonight. Here is how this recipe came about – and yes, the recipe is included!
Last year – right after Christmas – I spied a cheese baker – a goat cheese baker. I have goats and thought baking the cheese I made from their milk might be interesting. Of course, I didn’t get around to it this summer and had all but forgot about the cheese baker until I saw one in a store again this season. It was then that I knew I wanted to try to bake some cheese this holiday season. I didn’t want goat cheese from the store though. I thought about brie. Yes, it was a soft cheese and would work – so off to the store I went. I was on a mission to buy some brie cheese.
The cheese baker I bought came with two seasoning packets – one for the cheese and one for the topping on the cheese. Both were a hot pepper blend which was just fine with me. The recipe suggested using pine nuts to roll the cheese in. I didn’t have any and didn’t want to go to the store to buy any. I did have some Valdosta Pecans though. I decided the brie would taste good coated in pecans seasoned with cranberries, pepper and sweet orange. Boy was I right! And the flavors went so well with the hot pepper spice mix and topping that came with the cheese baker.
The first step was to mix half of the hot pepper seasoning packet into the brie. I bought the brie in a package without the rind. This made it really easy to work with the brie. All I had to do was remove the lid, remove the foil lining and mix the spice blend into the cheese.
The next step was to grind the pecans as small as possible. I used a coffee grinder to do this. I was out of Saran Wrap so I used a Ziplock bag I tore open and spread the pecans on it. I then sprinkled about 1/4 of the bag of the hot pepper topping on the pecans. I spooned the cheese on top of the pecans in a log shape. Once all the cheese was scooped out, I pulled both sides of the plastic bag into the air gently rolling the cheese in the pecan mixture.
Once the cheese was coated in the pecan mixture, the next step was to move it off the plastic and into the cheese baker. I found it easiest to lift the cheese log with a fork on one side. I used my fingers on the other side. It did sort of pull apart – just a little – and I simply repositioned it once it was laid in the cheese baker. Some of the pecan mixture remained on the plastic. I scooped it up and spread it on the top of the cheese. Then I sprinkled another 1/4 of the hot pepper topping on top of the pecan mixture.
I put the lid on the cheese baker and put it into a preheated 350 degree F oven. I baked it for 15 minutes. I wanted my cheese hot and bubbly. I did check it once 10 minutes had passed but it was still too firm to suit me.
Once the cheese was done, I spread it on some crackers and enjoyed it. This really is a simple, elegant recipe you can whip up and serve in no time. Keep it in mind the next time you have a party or company drops by. I am sure it would pair very nicely with wine.