I am a sucker for any kind of melted cheese. Fondue, raclette, grilled cheese sammie—you name it, I’m there. For the past several years at Christmas time, my daughter has made a baked Brie in a hollowed-out bread bowl for an appetizer. This year, I’m going for a French spin with this Baked Brie with Fig Jam recipe and upping the elegance factor with a crackly browned puff pastry shell. Perfect for a holiday appetizer spread or your next dinner party. After all, what makes people happier than dipping a slice of baguette into melted cheese—or is that just me?
This recipe is easy to execute, but perfection is in the details. Too thick a covering of puff pastry will result in uncooked dough next to the cheese. Too thin, and your jam and cheese may leak out into a runny mess on your pan. Choose the wrong type of cheese and you might end up with lumps rather than melted perfection. I’ve added ingredient and recipe tips below so that your baked Brie will become holiday legend rather than holiday fail. Let’s get started.
How do I make Baked Brie with Fig Jam?
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit or 200 degrees Celsuis. If your puff pastry dough is not already pre-rolled into a thin circle, lightly flour your countertop and roll out the dough into a 31-cm (12-inch) circle. The dough should be quite thin, maybe 3mm (1/8 inch) thick. If your puff pastry is too thick, it will not cook through when you bake it. If you are starting with a rectangular piece of dough, cut around the corners to make a circle. Then see my tips below for how to use scraps of puff pastry dough.
Place dough on parchment paper-lined sheet pan. Remove a one-pound wheel of Brie or Mont d’Or from its packaging, and cut the rind off the top of the cheese. Spread jam on top, covering the top of the cheese completely.
Now place jam-covered cheese in the middle of the pastry dough circle. Note: if you want to use a smaller size round of cheese, cut off excess puff pastry dough. You want no more than a few inches around your cheese wheel.
Wrap dough around Brie, folding up as you move around the circle. Seal by pressing the last fold of pastry on top of the rest.
Brush entire dough-covered round with egg wash.
Bake for 35 minutes, until pastry is golden-brown and jam is bubbling up through any cracks in the middle. Cool 5-10 min. Serve with apple and baguette slices for guests to dip into the hot creamy cheese.
Ingredient Tips for Baked Brie with Jam
The most important ingredient in this recipe is (surprise) the cheese. Choose a triple-cream Brie if at all possible. In a triple-cream Brie, extra cream is added to the milk during the cheese-making process. This cream results in a Brie with a butterfat content of at least 75%. That is higher than the butterfat content of regular and double-cream Brie and results in a creamier Brie that melts beautifully. I did try this recipe with regular Brie cheese, and rather than melting nicely, the regular Brie softened into oily clumps. 😔
Besides a triple-cream Brie, the other cheese I recommend if you are in Europe is the Vacherin Mont D’Or. Cheesemakers on the France/Switzerland border have been making Vacherin Mont D’Or since the early 1800s. French versions of this cheese use unpasteurized raw milk while Swiss versions use pasteurized milk, but otherwise the cheeses are almost identical.
Both cheeses are made from cow’s milk and are treated and aged in the same process. Mont D’Or is packaged in 3 different sizes, with the two smaller sizes often packed in wooden boxes for sale. This is a seasonal cheese as it is made starting in late summer when the cow milk is richer in fat. This rich milk requires a mold to brace it, and the Mont D’Or cheesemakers chose the abundantly available spruce bark for this purpose.
The cheese is then washed several times with a salt solution and aged—the older it gets, the softer and oozier it becomes. The rind that develops, sometimes with a white mold on it, is edible. This cheese is only available from November until the start of May. Unfortunately, neither the French nor the Swiss version are available in the U.S. due to the unpasteurized nature of the French version, and the fact that the Swiss version was banned in the early 1980s due to a listeria scare.
What jam should I use for Baked Brie?
As for the jam, I used a fig jam from Bonne Maman that is readily available here in France. Bonne Maman is also available in the U.S. and other countries, although any good quality jam would work. I prefer jam to jelly because I enjoy the small pieces of fruit in jam next to the buttery cheese. If fig jam is not your, um, jam, you can choose a different jam like strawberry, blackberry, or cherry. All pair well with a creamy cheese.
Can you replace Brie with Camembert?
Camembert is another option for a cheese to use with this recipe. Most Camembert will melt nicely when heated. In general, Camembert has a stronger flavor than the more mild Brie, but it will still pair well with fig jam.
Should you remove the rind from Brie before eating?
Removing the rind of a cheese like Brie is purely personal preference. The rind is edible, as is the rind of the Vacherin Mont D’Or. You can remove it if you don’t like the taste of it. For this recipe, I like to cut the top rind off of the cheese because that way there is nothing between the fig jam and the creamy cheese. But I keep the rind on the bottom and around the sides—you won’t really taste it under the puff pastry, and it helps give your gooey cheese some structure within the pastry.
Can you make-ahead this Baked Brie with Jam recipe?
This recipe can be prepped ahead of time, but not baked ahead of time. You can prep and wrap the cheese several hours in advance, then put it in the refrigerator. When you’re ready to bake, put it onto a parchment-lined sheet pan and brush it with egg wash. Then bake. Reheating an already baked Brie won’t give you the same crispiness of pastry and gooeyness of cheese.
Tips for Working with Puff Pastry
The key to working with puff pastry is to make sure it is the correct temperature. Thaw it according to package instructions—ideally in the refrigerator, but leaving it out on the counter at room temperature works too. If you do thaw puff pastry dough at room temperature, make sure you turn it over at least once while it is thawing. And work with it as soon as it is pliable, but still cold. If puff pastry dough gets too warm, it becomes soft and sticky, and the cold butter trapped within its layers will start to melt. (Not ideal because you want that process to happen in the oven.) You can always put dough back into the refrigerator if you realize it has become too warm to work with. Start again after it is cold.
What can I do with leftover puff pastry scraps?
If you have leftover puff pastry scraps, sprinkle them with shredded parmesan, give them a twist and bake them at 400 degrees Fahrenheit or 200 degrees Celsius. Voilà cheese straws! Or brush with milk and sprinkle instead with cinnamon sugar for a sweet treat.
Looking for other ideas for easy but elegant appetizers? I have you covered. Try these:
- Cilantro-Lime Crab Salad with Paprika Toasts
- Smoked Salmon Potato Chips with Everything Bagel Seasoning
- Old Bay Shrimp with Dipping Sauce
- Charred Tomatillo and Red Onion Guacamole
- 1 round triple-cream Brie cheese or Vacherin Mont d’Or (500g /16 oz)
- 1 sheet puff pastry or pate feuillettée pur beurre (230g /8 oz)
- 3 oz / 85g fig jam
- Egg wash (1 egg, mixed with 1 Tablespoon water and a pinch of salt)
- Apple slices, to serve
- Baguette slices, to serve
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit or 200 degrees Celsuis.
- If your puff pastry dough is not already pre-rolled into a thin circle, lightly flour your countertop and roll out the dough into a 31-cm (12-inch) circle. The dough should be quite thin, maybe 3mm (1/8 inch) thick. If your puff pastry is too thick, it will not cook through when you bake it. If you are starting with a rectangular piece of dough, cut around the corners to make a circle.
- Place dough on parchment paper-lined sheet pan.
- Remove your Brie or Mont d’Or from its packaging, and cut the rind off the top of the cheese.
- Spread jam on top, covering the top of the cheese completely.
- Now place jam-covered cheese in the middle of the pastry dough circle.
- Wrap dough around Brie, folding up as you move around the circle. Seal by pressing the last fold of pastry on top of the rest.
- Brush entire dough-covered round with egg wash.
- Bake for 35 minutes, until pastry is golden-brown and jam is bubbling up through any cracks in the middle.
- Cool 5-10 min.
- Serve with apple and baguette slices for guests to dip into the hot creamy cheese.
If your cheese is smaller than a one pound round, cut off excess puff pastry dough after you roll it out. You only want enough to wrap neatly around the cheese with a minimum of excess dough. Puff pastry scraps can be topped with grated cheese or cinnamon-sugar and baked.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 192 Total Fat: 9g Saturated Fat: 4g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 4g Cholesterol: 57mg Sodium: 196mg Carbohydrates: 23g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 10g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 5g