Mini-baked brie with caramelized balsamic onions, poached pear, and candied walnuts.
Personal-sized brie topped with caramelized onions, baked in flakey puff pastry, garnished with poached bosc pear, and brown sugar balsamic walnuts. This recipe has a lot of steps. Below are some tips that will hopefully make the process easier.
Poaching pears is easy, but you want to make sure they stay completely submerged during cooking. If they are not submerged, the pears can discolor or be only half cooked. Choose a pot based on its depth. There should be enough room to cover the pears and a plate with liquid. You might end up using a pan that is way too big around to get the depth needed. A larger pot also means more poaching liquid. Figuring out how much liquid you will need beforehand is simple. Place the pears in the pot you wish to use and cover them with water. Pour the water into a measuring cup, and that is how much poaching liquid you will need. Then, multiply or divide the recipe below to equal that amount.
I like to trim away most of the rind from the brie, leaving only the bottom for stability. If you enjoy eating the rind, then you can skip this step.
Folding the pastry around the brie is the most difficult part of this recipe. You will want to seal the ends of the pastry together without overstretching them. If the pastry doesn’t seal or has thin spots, it can burst during baking, and all of your cheese will ooze out before it is supposed to. So err on the side of too much dough. A little extra pastry never hurt anybody!
If you are making this recipe for guests, you can prebake the brie and warm them before serving. After the initial bake, leave the brie at room temperature. Reheat them in a low oven about 15 minutes before you are ready to serve. I also like to bake a few extras, just in case one or two bursts.
Individual Baked Brie
- 2 bosc pears
- 7 cups water
- 2 cups sugar
- 1/4 tsp black peppercorns
- 1/8 cup sherry vinegar
- 2 onions julienne 4 cups
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 sprig rosemary
- 1 cup walnut pieces
- 4 tsp balsamic vinegar
- 4 tbsp brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp rosemary chopped
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 wheel brie 1.32 pounds
- 2 sheets puff pastry 9 1/2 x 9 1/2 inches
- 1 egg for wash
- micro arugula as needed for garnish
- Combine the water, sugar, peppercorn, and vinegar in a saucepan large enough to submerge the pears. Heat over medium-low heat to dissolve the sugar. Heat the liquid just below a simmer. Peel the skin from the pear and place them in the liquid. Cover with parchment paper and weigh down with a heat-resistant plate. Cook for 45-60 minutes. Pears should be easily pierced with a knife. Remove the pears from the liquid to cool. If storing the pears for later use, keep them refrigerated in the poaching liquid.
- When ready to serve, have the pears at room temperature. Slice them in half and scoop out the core. Lay them cut side down and trim the bottom to remove the sprout end. Slice each half into quarters. Fan the quarters by making 4-5 cuts on the bulbous side, taking care not to cut through the top edge. Set aside until ready to use.
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Melt the butter and add the olive oil. Add the onions to the pan and coat with the butter. Add the rosemary. Cook until golden brown stirring frequently. If the onions are browning too quickly reduce the heat to medium. Once the onions are caramelized turn the heat to low and add the balsamic and salt. When the vinegar has been absorbed, remove the rosemary, and set them aside to cool.
- In a small skillet, heat the brown sugar, salt, and balsamic over medium heat. Once the sugar has dissolved and starts bubbling add the walnuts and rosemary. Coat the nuts and cook for 2-3 minutes. The sugar should be thick. Spread out on oiled parchment to cool. Break apart before serving. Store in an airtight container.
- Thaw 2 sheets of puff pastry and roll out to 11 x 11 1/2 inches. Cut four squares from each sheet and set them aside.
- Using a 2-inch cutter, cut 7 rounds from the brie. Trim off the top and side rind. Trim the rind away from the excess brie. Form another brie round by filling the cutter with the excess cheese. Scoop 1 tbsp of the onions on top of each brie portion.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Brush away any excess flour from the puff pastry. Place a brie portion, onion side down, in the center of each pastry square. Fold one side of the pastry over the brie, brush with egg wash, and fold over the opposite side, pressing them together. Repeat with the opposite side. Trim away extra pastry from the corners. Brush the inside of the corners with egg wash and press together to seal. Take each corner and fold it over the brie, pressing to seal. Flip the brie over, reshaping if needed, and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Brush the pastries with egg wash and bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Place each brie on a plate. Garnish with poached pear, candied walnuts, and micro arugula. Serve immediately.