Last night I went to a holiday party for my tennis group. Everyone was asked to bring an appetizer. I knew my day would be packed with errands, but I didn’t fret because as long as I have phyllo shells in the freezer and brie in the fridge, I can whip up a tray of warm Brie Bites in just fifteen minutes!
Having two or three boxes of pre-cooked Athens Phyllo Mini-Shells in the freezer and a round of brie in the fridge during the holidays is the key to being able to make this appetizer, with the topping of your choice, at a moment’s notice.
Here the cups are filled with a pat of brie.
My Favorite Toppings:
I LOVE the combination of brie and fig preserves. If I still have a jar of Roasted Fig Preserves in the fridge, I’ll top the brie with that. A reasonable facsimile, available in most grocery stores or on Amazon, is a jar of this burst of deliciousness:
During the holidays, I typically have some of Grandma’s Cranberry Chutney in the fridge, and I often top the brie with that. If not, I keep a jar of my tennis friend Leigh Oakley’s Oakley’s Spreadalicious Sweet and Hot Pepper Jelly in the cupboard for last-minute appetizers. It is also good poured over a log of warm goat cheese, sprinkled with toasted, sliced almonds, and topped with a sprinkle of fresh thyme leaves for color.
My friend and fabulous cook, Mindy, makes her brie bites with Oakley’s Spreadalicious topped with yummy, lightly salted, toasted pecans. The mix of spicy-sweet pepper jelly, toasted spicy pecans, earthy brie, and crunchy phyllo shell is crazy good!
Here is how to make Mindy’s Spicy, Lightly Salted Toasted Pecans:
Preheat oven to 300º
Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan. Turn heat off. Add one pound of pecans. Toss until evenly coated. Add one shake of Lawry’s Seasoned Salt and a sprinkle of sea salt. Toss again. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread nuts in a single layer. Roast for 25-30 minutes or until you can just start to smell them in the oven. They are addictive!
Instructions for Preparing the Brie Cups:
Preheat oven to 350º. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
Remove the snowy white rind that covers the wheel of brie. Or not. The rind is completely edible, and whether to leave it on or to remove it is a personal choice. I think it adds a mushroomy flavor that I’m not crazy about for this appetizer but tastes fine when I eat it unadorned on a cracker. Slice the brie into small square slices to fit in the phyllo shells. Bake for 5-7 minutes or until cheese melts. Remove pan from oven.
Add a spoonful of chutney or preserves, or just a toasted pecan, or both, to the melted brie. Place sheet pan back in the oven for a minute to warm the topping. Serve warm.
Other crowd-pleasing appetizers:
“Croatian Cheese” a Flavorful Appetizer Made with Feta and Goat Cheese
Grandma’s Italian Fried Cauliflower
A Quick and Easy Baked Hummus and Feta Appetizer
Roasted Tamari Almonds
Outrageous Roasted Rosemary Cashews
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