Shea asked me to do a guest post I had to gulp twice because I’d never done one and in a matter of 2 days I was asked by two really good blogger friends. What to do? I admitted my inexperience and Shea explained how easy it was. It’s one thing to write on your own blog whatever comes into your head but writing for someone else puts pressure on. Nobody wants to look like a goombah on someone else’s blog.
I relaxed, took a deep breath and headed for the kitchen where I was watched from above by the food patrol also known as Tallulah. How she gets up there is a mystery. We’ve never seen her do it and it’s a huge jump to the floor when she comes down. She sits up there across the room watching the entire cooking process.
I love mixing savory and sweet for appetizers and one of my favorites is baked brie in phyllo dough with caramelized balsamic onions and cashews. I get the creaminess of the brie, the sweetness and the tartness of the onions and the crunch of the cashews all doing a dance in my mouth.
As with all dishes with baked phyllo, there IS the mess factor but when you see how good it tastes, you’ll forgive me for the crumbs. We begin with making the caramelized onions. You CAN buy these from the supermarket but making them yourself allows you to determine how sweet or sour you like them. Slice the onions and s l o w l y sauté them until they are translucent and they begin to take on color. This takes a long time so be patient. Do your nails, clip the dog, watch Anthony Bourdain on TV but don’t leave the house because you need to stir these onions and keep adding just a bit of water. You don’t want them to dry out.
Then add a tablespoon or two of nice balsamic vinegar – don’t use the cheap stuff because if you do you’ll be disappointed. I’d rather have you leave it out completely than regret making this appetizer because it doesn’t taste right. Add a tablespoon or two of brown sugar and a little bit of water and cook until the onions are completely soft, dark brown and delicious.
Once the onions are cool, melt the butter and begin to assemble the parcel. There were only two of us and we had dinner coming soon so I only cooked a wedge of brie. If I was making this for company I would have used the whole wheel.
Open the phyllo dough and working quickly place one thin sheet on your work surface and brush it with melted butter. Place another sheet on top and butter that and then do a third, fourth and fifth sheet.
Now you’re ready to assemble.
Place the brie down, place the onions on top or next to the cheese and then toss in the cashews. Wrap the parcel like a gift, tucking the ends under it. Brush the top and bottom with butter so it will brown nicely. Place it in the oven at 350°F (180°C) for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.
Serve with your favorite crackers. I love a glass of champagne with it.
I read on someone’s blog the other day that brie was out of fashion – not at our house. If you love brie like we do, you can use lots of different toppings — mango chutney goes really well in a parcel with brie. Another favorite of mine is to toast some walnuts in a skillet and stir in some Kahlua and brown sugar to coat them and place them on top of the brie in the parcel. Let your imagination go wild. Your guests will love every variation.
Baked Brie with Caramelized Onions and Cashews
5 sheets phyllo dough brie cheese – 1 wheel
2 large onions – sliced thinly
2 tbs balsamic vinegar
2 tbs brown sugar handful of cashews
½ cup butter – melted
Sauté onions over low heat until they begin to get some color and then add the balsamic vinegar and brown sugar to your taste. Continue to cook until onions are very soft and dark. (This takes a long time and you might need to add some water so they don’t dry out.)
Let the onions cool.
Place one sheet of phyllo dough on your work surface and brush lightly with melted butter. Place second sheet of phyllo dough on top of the first and brush lightly with butter. Do the same thing with the remaining 3 sheets of dough.
Place the brie on the center of the dough and top with the caramelized onions and cashews.
Trim the phyllo dough so there is enough to wrap around the cheese but not so much that there’s a wad of phyllo dough under the cheese. Think gift wrapping. Place the ends under the cheese and you’ll have a pretty package. Place on a baking sheet with baking paper and brush top and bottom lightly with butter. Place in the oven for about 20 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown.
Serve with your favorite crackers.
Jill ColonnaJuly 6, 2011 at 9:11 AM
What a wonderful guest post and a fabulous recipe! Great job with the carmelised onions – and with the crunch of the cashews and the oozing brie in that crispy filo…. too good for words!
JuliaJuly 5, 2011 at 10:35 PM
I’d be a bit nervous guest posting too 🙂 Fantastic way to bake brie. Love that it’s savory with the onions and cashews. Mmm, and the flakiness of the phyllo, delicious!
Desserts In My KitchenJuly 5, 2011 at 11:34 AM
This looks very tasty! Great post 🙂 Love your food blog!
ShilpaJuly 5, 2011 at 11:03 AM
Baked Brie….sounds amazing! mopped up with some fresh, crusty bread… heaven….My stomach doesn’t allow me to gorge on cheeses, but a little bit of this baked brie would be fine, am sure 🙂 even without the pastry….thanks for sharing…
GregJuly 5, 2011 at 6:29 AM
I really like the savory take on this. We normally go a little sweeter and it’d be nice to branch out.
[email protected] in disguiseJuly 5, 2011 at 1:30 AM
WOW! this looks and sounds AMAZING!
I have to get me some brie soon!
JayJuly 4, 2011 at 9:34 AM
I’ve got to admit, I love this recipe. It really sounds good! I’m going to have to try it!
Alan CookeJuly 4, 2011 at 8:53 AM
This looks so delicious. I love baked brie (whether it’s in style or not) and adding thos caramelized onions really takes it over the top! Great Post.
YuriJuly 4, 2011 at 7:11 AM
You’re a rockstar, Maureen! Thanks for introducing me to a new blog, loved your ice cream sandwiches and this appetizer is something I’d make too 🙂 elegant, not too complicated and with amazing flavors!
Ichigo ShortcakeJuly 4, 2011 at 1:02 AM
Congrats on the first guest post Maureen! The recipe sure looks simple and delicious, I love the combination of flavours! Keep up the good work. 🙂
LanaJuly 3, 2011 at 9:40 PM
How can brie get out of fashion? That’s plainly ridiculous:) I love it, you love it, and that should be enough! Seriously, no cheese can ever be out of fashion in my world.
I can give up many things in my life, but cheese would be one of the last beloveds I part with (along with wine:)
This recipe is ringing all my bells and I cannot wait for an occasion to make this brie parcel.
Beautiful guest post, Maureen:)
Maris (In Good taste)July 3, 2011 at 7:18 PM
Stomach rumbling as i read! I happen to love phyllo dough and baked with these goodies this is a sure fire winner!
MaureenJune 30, 2011 at 6:45 AM
Thanks so much for offering me a guest post. I love your blog.
Sneh | Cook RepublicJune 30, 2011 at 12:57 AM
Delicious! This makes me very very hungry!
MarieJune 29, 2011 at 10:50 PM
Oh Nellie- looks delish!! I can almost taste it!
[email protected]June 29, 2011 at 10:16 PM
mmmmm! That sounds soooo good!!
kankanaJune 29, 2011 at 5:50 PM
This looks very delicious 🙂 I so love phyllo pastry but the thought of making it at home scares me !!
KellyJune 28, 2011 at 9:56 PM
Oh wow this looks sooo delicious!! Loving your blog and so glad to be your newest follower! 🙂