Recipe: Honeyed Marcona Almond Brie En Croute

Perhaps we're the only ones feeling the post-holiday slump, but it's been a bit discombobulating going from full speed ahead partying to life in its more quiet normalcy. To combat this sharp dip in festive fun, we've decided to have a few (a very, very small few) of our closest friends over for a little wine and games night. It's easy: Ask everyone to bring their favorite bottle of vino, put out a few easy apps, and dust off the board games that haven't seen the light of day in ten years. Trust us, though the nerd factor may seem high, it's such nostalgic fun that you'll be scheduling a rematch in no time.

Brie en croute, or brie wrapped in puff pastry, is a great way to easily fancy up the snack table. This version is so good, we can guarantee there will be no need to go buy more foil for leftovers. And it only takes maybe half an hour to prepare, including the 20 minutes in the oven, during which you can set out little bowls of nuts and sliced apples. The thick rich cloud of wild honey that softly envelopes the crunchy, salty goodness of the roasted Marcona almonds pairs so perfectly with the creamy, snowy brie that you will probably be tempted to eat until you get sick. And why not? You still have almost 12 full months of 2010 to make up for it.

The recipe, after the jump.

Honeyed Marcona Almond Brie En Croute

  • 1 round triple cream brie (choose your size)
  • I box puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ¼ cup roasted salted Marcona almonds (find them in the bulk bins at your grocery store)
  • ¼ cup good quality honey
  • 1 egg
  • Preheat you oven to 400 degrees. Top a cookie sheet with some parchment paper.

    Heat a skillet over medium heat. Melt the butter in the skillet. Add the almonds and toss them in the butter for about 1 minute. Drizzle the honey over the almonds and toss until evenly coated. One great trick is to spray your measuring cup with non-stick cooking spray before adding the honey. This makes it slide out nicely, and clean-up is a cinch. Roll out one sheet of the pastry dough until it is about 1/8" thick. Place the brie on top of it. Top the brie with the warm honey almond mixture.

    Beginning with the corners, stretch the pastry over the brie and the almonds, and arrange it like a pretty little wrapped gift. Or not. Either way, it will taste amazing.

    Beat the egg until frothy and brush this egg wash all over your pastry dough to ensure it will have a nice golden color.

    If you're feeling adventurous, take the second piece of pastry dough and cut it into strips of about half an inch-by-six inches or something similar. Grab the ends and twist the strips. Place the strips on the cookie sheet with the brie, and put it all in the oven for about 20 minutes. Take it out when it's the color of a Brazilian supermodel, transfer to a beautiful platter, and dig in.

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    Geri Maria Harris