Winter Warmer Compote stuffed Baked Brie – Party Flavors 2
Pretty impressive huh? Betcha don’t believe that it’s not hard to do once you know a few tricks of the trade. Having been a chef and catering manager for 10 years I’ve made quite a few of these along the way. So follow along and you’ll be fine, I even took extra pictures to help.
As to the Beer a Winter Warmer may also be called Christmas Ale or Old Ale. It may have spices, it may not but it is typically a full bodied, malty brew with a little higher ABV then a Porter but not as strong as a Barleywine. I used Samuel Smith’s Winter Welcome Ale. Some other suggestions are Harpoon’s Winter Warmer, Highland’s Cold Mountain and Bell’s Christmas Ale.
Winter Warmer Compote
1/2 lb Dried Fruit – a mix of apple, pear, apricot, raisins, plums, currants, cranberries etc
12 oz Winter Warmer style beer – I used Samuel Smith’s Winter Welcome Ale
Additional spices if desired: Orange Zest, Bay Leaf, Nutmeg, Red Pepper Flakes, Black Pepper or Salt
Add the beer and the dried fruit into a 1 qt pan. Bring to a boil and then turn down the heat to a simmer and cover. Stirring occasionally allow to cook 15 to 20 minutes, less time if your dried fruit pieces are smaller. The dried fruit will soak up the liquid before beginning to break down itself. Don’t allow it to get completely dry in the pot, add more beer or even a little water to the pot.
This is the base compote, from here you can portion it out for different reasons and tastes. I roughly chopped 1/2 cup of the compote and added orange zest, nutmeg and a little red pepper flacks for what I put in my brie. What you don’t use right away allow to cool completely and refrigerate. This will easily last you through the holidays.
Stuffed Baked Brie
- 1 ea Brie – a full round and not a triangle is needed
- 1 pkg Puff Pastry - found in the freezer department of the grocery store & defrosted in fridge over night
- 1 ea Egg – mixed with a little water
- 1/2 cup Filling of choice – compote, preserves, nuts, sun-dried tomatoes, etc
30 minutes before beginning place your brie in the freezer. This makes it easier to slice in half but keeping the cheese cold is one of the tricks to baking pretty brie.
Puff Pastry come frozen and usually folded in thirds. Be sure you have defrosted it slowly in the fridge and to keep it cold as much as possible. Gently roll it out making sure to seam the fold marks so there are not holes. You also want the dough 2/3 to 1/2 the thickness it was in the package. Prick the pastry with a fork all over what would be the inside of the pastry. This reduces how high the pastry will rise.
Get the brie, before it freezes rock solid, and slice through the middle horizontally. You’ve now got a top and a bottom. Another trick of the trade is to scoop out some of the middle of each section so that more filling will fit. It also makes a great snack for the chef.
I wanted to be fancy so I took a couple extra, unnecessary steps. First I cut a round out of the pastry the size of a shaker pint glass which was 1″ diameter smaller then the brie. As you’ll see in a minute I also cut little Christmas shapes out of leftover dough to make it fancy. Neither of these added to the flavor so don’t feel obliged to do it. What is important is that you fold the dough around the stuffed brie and seal it with an egg wash. Turn the brie over and brush the whole thing with additional egg wash. If you want to put little cut out leaves, top it with sliced almonds or any other fancification this is when you’d do that. Anything will stick with the egg and if it’s more pastry, brush that with egg as well. I added holly leaves and Christmas trees.
Yes, put it back in the freezer for 10 – 15 minutes. This is a good time to heat your oven to 450°, yes 450°. What you’re trying to do is get the pastry puffed and golden without melting the brie inside. This keeps it from turning into a Frisbee, a yummy cheesy tasting Frisbee but…
Bake! only stay close by, you need to check it every 10 minutes because the puff pastry will burn suddenly. Rotate it front to back, at least once as it cooks. It will take a half hour + but the top will get golden before the sides. If this happens place a square of foil just on the top to reflect the heat.
I removed the rind in the middle and topped it with additional compote and toasted almond slices once plattered.
Everyone at the party will say that they are not worthy of your masterpiece – trust me.
The compote itself is great just over cream cheese, with roasted meats, on sandwiches (fancy PB&J anyone?) or even replacing a traditional jam in a cookie recipe such as Thumbprints/Bird’s Nests.