A warm and delicious baked brie is an elegant and easy appetizer to serve at any special gathering. My scrumptious recipe features brie cheese with a sweet and savory topping of balsamic caramelized onions with a whisper of fresh thyme, all wrapped up in puff pastry and baked until golden brown!
Baked Brie, a Cheesy Little Puff Pastry Package of Deliciousness
Whenever I see cheese as part of a lovely little appetizer spread, I'm a very happy gal.
I'm a lover of all sorts of cheeses, and often make a little snack out of a few slices of flavorful cheese atop of some thin, crispy crackers.
So a tasty little cheese board with fruit, or a cheeseball with toasts, or a warm and gooey baked brie are all examples of perfectly delectable little appetizers in my book.
Baked brie is a particularly wonderful recipe to prepare in the cooler months when an appetizer with a bit of warmth and coziness just sounds extra inviting. It's the perfect pick for the holidays when many of us are entertaining and looking for delectable goodies to share as a precursor to a special meal.
To make things a bit extra flavorful, I've created a baked brie recipe here that features a topping of sweet and savory balsamic caramelized onions, a sprinkle of thyme, all wrapped snuggly in a puff pastry package.
Baked until golden-brown on the outside and all gooey and warm on the inside, this baked brie appetizer with balsamic caramelized onions is my go-to, cheesy little indulgence this season!
How to Bake Brie
There are a number of ways one can prepare baked brie, which makes it an incredibly versatile appetizer to share. It's really up to personal preference, and the flavor profile one is looking for!
One could simply place a wheel of brie on parchment paper, bake until the cheese is soft and melted, and serve it just like that—it's delicious that way!
Another option is to bake the brie, then top with jam or perhaps a savory topping of some sort, and it's quite lovely that way as well.
But my own favorite way to prepare baked brie is to sort of “go all out” and top the brie with something sweet and savory, wrap it in puff pastry, then bake it to melted perfection.
I happen to really enjoy caramelized onions, especially the kind finished off with a healthy drizzle of sweet balsamic vinegar to create that delicious jam-like consistency. So I use them in this baked brie recipe, along with a few sprigs of thyme as a complement to all the other wonderful layers of flavors.
The slightly acidic and sweet notes of balsamic caramelized onions, the earthy notes of thyme, and the nutty creaminess of brie cheese offers a little surprise in each bite.
Here's a peek at my baked brie recipe: (or just jump to the full recipe further down...)
- The first thing I do is prepare my caramelized onions. I typically do this a day or even two ahead of when I'd like to serve my baked brie to make things quick and easy the day of. Otherwise, I'll prepare the onions on the same day and allow them cool completely before using.
- When ready to assemble and bake off my brie, I'll roll out my store-bought puff pastry dough, spoon over top my cooled caramelized onions, then wrap the brie in the pastry.
- Once wrapped, I brush the pastry with egg wash to create some color while baking, then chill the brie for at least 30 minutes (or even overnight at this point, if making ahead) before baking for roughly 35-40 minutes, until golden-brown.
- To serve, I allow the baked brie to sit for about 10 minutes before placing onto a platter with crackers, toast or fruit, so that the cheese is melted and gooey, yet doesn't completely ooze all over the platter. 😉
Baked Brie with Balsamic Caramelized Onions
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Serves 8
Nutrition Info: 301 calories (per 1 ounce serving)
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Total time: 1 hour, 25 minutes
- Olive oil
- 1 1/2 medium onions, sliced thinly into semi-circles (roughly 2 1/2 cups)
- Black pepper
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar (or granulated sugar)
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, plus extra sprigs for garnish
- 1 (8 ounce) wheel brie cheese, cold
- 1 sheet prepared puff pastry, thawed according to package instructions
- Flour, for rolling
- 1 whisked egg, for egg wash
- Crackers, sliced baguette, apples/pears, for serving on the side
- Place a large skillet over medium-high heat, and drizzle in about 2-3 tablespoons of oil; once hot, add in the sliced onions along with a pinch of salt and pepper, and cook the onions, stirring occasionally, until they become deeply golden-brown and caramelized, about 20 minutes.
- Once golden, stir in the teaspoon of sugar, followed by the balsamic vinegar, and allow the mixture to bubble up and reduce, stirring to incorporate; allow the onions to cook for another 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently now, until jam-like and deeply browned; then, add the 1 teaspoon of thyme leaves, stir to combine, and remove from pan and allow to cool (you should have roughly 1/2 cup).
- To prepare the baked brie, lightly flour your work surface, and roll out the thawed puff pastry sheet to about 1/8” thickness, a bit larger than the wheel of brie (trim the puff pastry a little bit if it's considerably too large for your brie); place the brie in the center of it, spoon over top of it the cooled, balsamic caramelized onions, then fold the puff pastry sheet over top to cover everything, creating a little “package” with pleats.
- Place the wrapped brie “package” onto a small baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and very gently brush some egg wash over the puff pastry (avoid allowing it to pool underneath), and place into the fridge to chill for 30 minutes (or even overnight), covering lightly with plastic wrap.
- Preheat the oven to 400°.
- Once ready to bake, place the brie into the oven and bake for roughly 35-40 minutes, or until deeply golden and puffed; allow the baked brie to stand for 10 minutes before serving, to avoid it oozing out too much.
- To serve, add a couple of decorative sprigs of thyme, and surround the brie with crackers, sliced baguette, or even fruit such as apples or pears.
Tips & Tidbits for my Baked Brie with Balsamic Caramelized Onions:
- Make ahead for easy baked brie: To expedite the process the day I'd like to serve the baked brie, I'll usually caramelize my onions a day or two beforehand, allow them to cool, and keep them in the fridge until ready to use. Another option if you'd like to have your brie completely topped and wrapped, and basically ready to be baked without any hassle the day of, you can prep/cool the onions, and assemble the whole package up to the point of applying the egg wash to the puff pastry; then, loosely wrap the brie in plastic wrap (keep it on a small, parchment-lined baking sheet), and keep cold until ready to bake!
- Other options for toppings: If you're not a fan of caramelized balsamic onions, no worries! Substitute your favorite topping. You can use cherry or apricot preserves (about 1/4 – 1/3 cup), fig jam, cranberry sauce, or even honey, as sweet toppings. You can use garlicky, sauteed mushrooms for a savory topping. Or, mix brown sugar with pecans or walnuts for a nutty flair. Just add any of these before wrapping in puff pastry!
- Size of brie cheese: I'm using an 8 ounce (1/2 pound) wheel of brie here (from Whole Foods Market), which will serve about 8 people. You can find larger wheels, of course, if you need to serve more people. Just adjust the size of your puff pastry to fit the size of your brie, as you want it completely wrapped.
- No need to cut the rind off the brie: If you prefer to cut the thin rind off of the brie before topping with the caramelized onions, feel free to, but this is completely unnecessary. The rind is totally edible, and actually helps a bit in maintaining the shape of the brie while baking.
- Patience is a virtue: While it's tempting to immediately serve the baked brie hot out of the oven, give it about 10 minutes to sit. Otherwise, the brie will ooze all over your platter too much. You want the brie be warm, melted and gently flowing out of the pastry, perfect for crackers, toasts or fruit.