I was first introduced to Baked Brie several years ago by my friend Kari. She brought it for a potluck and I instantly fell in love with it. Even more so when I found out just how easy it is to make! It's the perfect appetizer to bring to a party when you don't have much time on your hands because it only takes about thirty minutes for both the prep and baking!
I recently found myself craving some baked brie. I had everything I needed, except the crackers to go with them. Usually I love to serve baked brie with wheat thins, as I like how their salty, grainy flavor complements the sweet and smooth flavor of the brie. I was too lazy to put on a change of clothes and run to the store, though, so I found myself flipping through The King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion for a cracker recipe.
I never thought I'd ever make my own crackers - or choose to make them from scratch instead of running to the store to get them. Once you realize how much better homemade stuff is, compared to the store bought prepackaged stuff you can get, you're much more motivated to making things yourself though. Making homemade pita bread was definitely a testament to that. So with that experience in mind, I forged ahead with this cracker recipe.
I was surprised at how easy it was to make these crackers - the method was very similar to making biscuits, except you roll the doll out into a super thin layer and then cut them into rectangles. These crackers are called "Thin Wheat Crackers" and I thought they might taste like Wheat Thins, but they didn't really taste like those at all. The sesame seeds were definitely a nice touch, and these crackers were really good... but I wouldn't call them Wheat Thins. They sort of remind me of the little sesame crackers you get in those Asian snack mixes. If you're not a big fan of sesame seeds, just omit them from the recipe.
When my husband saw me baking these, he asked me what I was making. I informed him that I was making crackers from scratch, at which point he laughed at me and then walked away. After these came out of the oven, he could not keep his hands off of them. I told him he should never doubt me again! ;)
1 Puff Pastry Sheet, thawed
1 round of Brie (I like to remove the white "skin" from my brie using a vegetable peeler but that is optional)
12 ounces fruit preserves (my favorite is cherry)
Preheat oven to 350F
Unfold the puff pastry into a single layer on a baking sheet. Spread the fruit preserves over the center. Place the brie on top of the fruit preserves.
Fold the pastry dough over the top of the brie and press the edges together to seal tightly.
You can bake the brie as is on the baking sheet, but I prefer to invert it into an oven safe bowl so the seams are on the bottom, and any juices that leak will stay in the bowl.
Bake for 25 minutes. Let cool for 10 to 15 minutes before serving. Serve with your favorite crackers or some sliced apples.
Thin Wheat Crackers
from The King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion
1 cup (4.25 ounces) unbleached pastry flour or unbleached all purpose flour (I used bleached all purpose flour)
1 cup (5 ounces) whole wheat flour or white whole wheat flour
1/4 cup (1.25 ounces) sesame seeds
1/4 cup (1.75 ounces) granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
4 tbsp (1/2 stick, 2 ounces) butter
scant 1/2 cup (3.75 ounces) milk (I used skim)
Coarse salt (optional)
Preheat oven to 325F.
In a large bowl, combine the flours, sesame seeds, sugar and salt. Cut in the butter (use a pastry blender or two knives), then stir in the milk, adding just enough milk to form a workable dough.
Divide the dough into three pieces and roll it out ultra-thin, one piece at a time- 1/16 inch, if you can manage it (the thinner they are, the better; the thicker ones don't taste as good). Sprinkle with a bit of coarse salt, if desired, and use the rolling pin to press the salt into the dough.
Cut the dough into 1 x 2-inch rectangles. Transfer the crackers to baking sheets and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until they begin to brown. Cool on a rack.
Yield: About 8 Dozen Crackers