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Brie with jam is a versatile appetizer that can satisfy almost any craving from sweet to spicy to savory. Topped with virtually any type of jam and served with bread or crackers, the mild flavor of brie provides the perfect complement. Since heating the brie typically takes less than 10 minutes in an oven, and the jam can be heated at the same time, the appetizer is also quick and easy to prepare.
The top rind of the brie should be sliced off while the brie is still chilled. The rind is not very thick, so the slice should be thin to avoid removing excess cheese. An extra sharp knife should be used since a dull knife may leave a jagged, unsightly edge. A large wire cheese cutter can be substituted for a knife, or even sturdy fishing wire. The line is easier to control if it is pulled toward the person slicing the cheese.
The brie should then be allowed to reach room temperature, which takes about 30 minutes to an hour. This promotes flavor in the cheese. Once it has reached room temperature, it is heated in an oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit (204 degrees Celsius) for about ten minutes or until just melted and gooey.
It is best to heat the jam separately from the brie. Use either a microwave or stove to bring the jam to a hot, soupy texture. If using the stove, the jam should be warmed slowly over medium low heat to avoid burning the jam. In a microwave, this should take no more than one to two minutes. Stir until smooth and pour over the heated brie.
To keep the brie with jam melted while serving, bake the brie in an oven safe serving dish. The dish should be large enough to leave a generous lip for the brie with jam, since the jam will spread somewhat. To serve it with bread or crackers, there should also be enough room on the serving dish to arrange these items around the brie. The serving dish will maintain its heat and and act as a warmer for the brie, and it is a good idea to warn guests that the dish is hot. For easy clean up, the dish should be lightly greased before placing the cheese on it.
Crunchy, toasted bread provides an excellent contrast to the brie with jam as the cheese and jam have a smooth texture. Similarly, a sprinkling of nuts, like sliced almonds, can also give a satisfying crunch. For a spicy alternative, jalapeno peppers can be pureed and added to the jam before heating.
Another common way of preparing brie, with or without jam or the other ingredients suggested in the article, is to wrap it in pyhllo dough or puff pastry.
An easy, relatively inexpensive way to do this is to use refrigerated crescent rolls of phyllo dough or puff pastry squares that can be found in the freezer aisle in most supermarkets.
Since the surrounding dough takes the brunt of the heat and steams the brie rather than melting it directly, the jam can be applied before the dough is wrapped around the cheese and allowed to heat with it while the surrounding pastry bakes.
Once melted or softened, brie can also be wrapped in nuts to spread on crackers or bread. Slivered almond-crusted brie is a popular serving suggestion.
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