I love a good appetizer.
Snack dinners and cheese boards are one of life's great pleasures.
With the spring fast-approaching, I wanted to make you an appetizer that would be just right for any baby shower, wedding shower, or Easter celebration that comes your way.
These elegant little bites combine two of my favorite things in this world: brie and almonds.
I love buying these teeny wheels of brie at Trader Joe's. They are ridiculously adorable.
A smear of almond paste, a circle of puff pastry (store bought is fine, homemade is better), a generous coating of egg wash, and you are set to impress!
Oh, and while these little puffs are puffing, let's make ourselves a spiced honey.
Honey, cinnamon and ginger are heated until just warm and drizzle-able.
Let's agree right now to petition "drizzle-able" into Webster's this year.
These miniature versions of the highbrow classic are what I would serve if Martha Stewart came to lunch. These, alongside an endive salad. We might chat about her garden. I would eat them with my fingers even though she would use a fork and knife.
Sure, they might look fancy, but eating them straight off the sheet pan while you stand over the stove is 100% allowed.
Don't worry, Martha's not watching.
Miniature Almond Brie en Croute with Spiced Honey
for the almond paste
- 2 1/2 cups raw, unsalted almonds
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 cup + 1 tablespoon filtered water
- 3/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
Place almonds in a medium mixing bowl and bring 3 cups of water to a boil in a 2-quart saucepan. Pour the boiling water over the almonds and allow to sit for 2 minutes. Drain the almonds and let cool just slightly.
Using the tips of your fingers, gently pinch each almond out of its skin. This will be easier than it sounds as the skins will have loosened after the boiling water bath.
After all the almonds have been skinned, transfer them to your blender. Combine honey and 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon of water in a small saucepan and place over medium heat. Bring to a boil.
Pour the boiling honey mixture over the blanched almonds and blend until it forms a very smooth, thick paste. Blend in butter and almond extract and pulse until smooth.
Transfer the paste to a large mixing bowl and use an electric mixer to slowly incorporate the confectioner’s sugar.
Transfer the paste to an airtight container and refrigerate until cool and stiff.
Cook's Note: This recipe will make far more almond paste than you will need for these pastries, but will last several weeks in the refrigerator and can be used in cookies, cakes, or these amazing croissants!
for the brie en croute
- 1/2 cup almond paste
- 10 miniature brie wheels (I find these at Trader Joe's)
- 2 sheets puff pastry, defrosted
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon water
- flour, for dusting
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a small bowl, whisk together egg and water.
Dust a clean surface with a bit of flour and roll the puff pastry out slightly. Use a 3 1/2 inch biscuit cutter to cut ten rounds of pastry. The pastry with shrink up a bit after being cut, so gently roll each round out with a rolling pin so that it measures approximately 4-inches in diameter.
Place just under a tablespoon of the prepared almond paste into the center of each round and top with a wheel of brie. Wrap the edges of the pastry around the brie, pinching the pastry together in the center to seal. Place the pastries, sealed-side-down, onto the prepared baking sheets and brush liberally with the egg wash.
Bake for 25-30 minutes; until the pastry has puffed and the pastries are deep golden in color.
While the pastries are baking, prepare the spiced honey.
Allow the pastries to cool slightly before serving. Drizzle with spiced honey and serve hot.
for the spiced honey
- 1/2 cup clover honey
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
Whisk to combine honey and ground spices in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.