Tart. Sweet. Creamy. Gooey. CRUNCH! What more does a holiday appetizer need? Hmm, how about stunning good looks, and no-fuss preparation? Make this baked brie – and its zesty orange cranberry sauce – your go-to holiday app!
It won’t take long… tummies will start to rumble with the first wafts of savory goodness emanating from the warm oven. Melty cheese does it every time!
But the Oohs and Ahhs will REALLY fly when they gather around your platter.
The COLORS here!
Deep, bold crimson cranberries against a wheel of snow white, creamy brie make for such a festive presentation. AND topped with vibrant green pistachios… this is HOLIDAY ON A PLATE.
The day I was developing this recipe, our family was invited to a friend’s house for dinner. I wouldn’t usually consider taking a “first draft” with me, however, I had a good feeling about this one, and I knew all the folks that would be there have discerning tastes and would provide honest feedback. Happy to say it was a resounding hit! But I also discovered two important things.
First, it’s an easy app to take with you on the road. A few minutes in a warm oven is all the brie needs to get creamy and soft, besides which it takes up only a tiny amount of oven space, so double bonus points for not burdening your host.
Second, the get-together had kids ranging from ages 7 to 54… and there wasn’t a bite left to bring home!
Am I saying ALL kids will love this? No way. But its appeal does span generations.
Truth be told, you don’t want the little rascals to get into this anyhow. Perhaps you might just put out a bowl of cheddar squares for the kiddos, and park an adult-only sign in front of this one. No joke I had to shoo my 12 year old away before she demolished the entire plate, leaving nothing for the rest of us!!
All kidding aside, this is one of those dishes which you’ll savor the whole bite through. You can’t help but let it linger, slowly enjoying all the flavors and textures… the crunch of the cracker, oozy brie, and bright festive cranberries… nuff said!
What kind of Port should I use? Because there are a lot of options!
Right you are! There are indeed a wide variety of Ports out there, and the aged variety can get quite expensive! Look for a mid-range, tawny Port. No need so splurge, but make sure it’s of decent quality. Taylor, Graham, and Warre’s are all good brands- and the leftovers will make a lovely holiday-time nightcap.?
Are there Substitutions you offer for this Baked Brie?
- If you don’t want to use alcohol, substitute orange juice for the Port.
- Or if you’re okay with alcohol, but have Madeira on hand, you can use this with great success in place of the Port. (I will say one side bene here is that a bottle of Madeira keeps longer than Port, so if you’re looking for something to nip on THROUGH the season, you’ve got yourself a holiday sipper : )
- If you’re after a little spice, add a seeded, chopped jalapeno to the cranberries as they are cooking!
Any other tips or things to know about this Baked Brie?
- Cranberries are generally sold in 12 oz bags, so to keep it “whole”, my recipe calls for one full bag. This means the recipe will make more cranberry sauce than you will need for the cheese- but this is at worst a HAPPY “accident”. It is fabulous with roast chicken, or as a condiment on a cheese board, or slathered on leftover turkey sandwiches!
- The first time I made the cranberry sauce, I wasn’t watching it closely enough and it became TOO jammy. Be careful not to overcook the sauce, or you will end up with a super sticky condiment. If you do, by accident, end up getting the cranberries too thick, you can add a little water and heat it gently to loosen it up.
- The cheese does NOT need a lot of time in the oven. In fact though the outside won’t look changed at all, the interior will be warm and creamy in just a few minutes.
- Once you cut into the cheese, it will ooze out onto whatever dish it’s sitting on. Make sure there’s enough room on the plate for the cheese to run, or serve in a dish a lip.
- You can bake the brie on parchment and transfer it to a serving plate, or serve it directly from it’s baking dish if you put it on a trivet, and warn guests that the dish is hot!
Watch me make my Baked Brie with Orange Cranberry Sauce:
Baked Brie with Orange Cranberry Sauce
- 1/4 cup port
- 8 ounces fresh cranberries a generous 2 cups
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon chopped rosemary
- 2 teaspoons grated orange zest
- 1 8- ounce wheel of brie cheese
- Chopped pistachios for garnish
- Toasted baguette slices or water crackers for serving
- Make the cranberry sauce. In a medium saucepan, combine the port, cranberries, sugar, salt, rosemary and orange zest. Bring to a simmer and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for 10-12 minutes. It should be thick. Remove from the heat. The sauce can be made 1 week ahead and refrigerated.
- Preheat the oven to 350. Place a piece of parchment in an ovenproof dish and place the cheese on the parchment. Top with ½ cup of the cranberry sauce.
- Bake for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven, and use the parchment to place on a serving plate or dish. Sprinkle with pistachios and serve immediately.