Spring is possibly my favourite season of the year. As the days get warmer, the flowers are blooming and the bees are buzzing, it is the time to get out and about and enjoy the sunshine. For me, it is also the time to invite friends over for a picnic or BBQ. Because I always think food and wine bring people together. So I am delighted to team up with Jacob’s Creek once again to create mouthwatering recipes that are inspired by five of their delicious wines. Hence, for the last two weeks, I’ve been swirling, sniffing, sipping delicious wines (I love my job!), writing down tasting notes and coming up with five simple recipes that are great for sharing at any parties. Let’s face it, no one wants to slave behind the kitchen during a party, you want to chill and relax, enjoy the good time with friends at the table. So keep it simple.
Among all the five wines that I’ve tasted, the perfect wine for Spring time is the Jacob’s Creek Chardonnay Pinot Noir. The light golden bubbly is rich yet refreshing with generous citrus fruit flavours enhanced with creamy nutty characters. It is an excellent pairing with soft white cheese like brie or camembert. So I decided to create one of my favourite party starters that never fail to please the crowd, the baked brie cheese with apricot jam and walnuts.
To kick off a party, you simply can’t go wrong with chilled sparkling wine and some tasty cheese, especially a baked one. This baked cheese is extremely easy to make and you can prepare it in advance so it will be just perfect when the guests arrive. To see my friends’ reactions when they spotted the golden baked cheese dome gloriously sitting on the table is absolutely priceless. They will think you must have spent the whole day behind the kitchen to create such beauty, well just don’t tell them it actually takes less than an hour to make.
For this recipe, you can use any soft white cheese like brie or camembert. I don’t suggest to use triple brie, (Yes, I know is softer and creamier…) but since you are going to bake the cheese, it will just melt into gooey goodness anyway, so a double brie will do. And there are no set rules what toppings you want to add to the cheese. I used apricot jam to balance out with the salty cheese, but you are more than welcomed to use cranberry jam for the festive season.
There are a couple of crucial key points to the recipe. First, make sure the folding of the pastry on top is not too thick, otherwise it will not cook through and you will be eating raw dough. Secondly, make sure you let the baked cheese cool down a little, at least 20 minutes before serving. If not, you will end up with a puddle of hot cheese mess on the plate and also way too hot to put inside your mouth. Don’t do it if you do not want to burn your tongue.
Trust me, once you have tried baked cheese, it is very hard to go back to serve cheese on its own. It is definitely worth the extra effort to make something special to go with the bubbly.
- 1 small wheel (200g) Double Brie Cheese
- 1 puff pastry sheet, thawed
- 1 tablespoon apricot jam
- 1 handful walnuts, crushed
- 1 tablespoon fresh full cream milk
- A handful of crackers
- Preheat oven to 200C fan-force. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
- Place pastry sheet on the tray, use sharp knife and trim all four corner to make a round shape.
- Put the cheese in the middle of the pastry. Spread apricot jam over the top evenly then sprinkle walnuts all over.
- Fold pastry upward and over the cheese from one edge, then continue on counter-clockwise, overlapping a little at each fold.
- Use a knife, cut a hole on top of the pastry to let steam out so it doesn’t explode while baking.
- Brush the pastry with milk. Bake in oven for 30 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown and cooked through.
- Place on a rack and allow to cool for at least 20 minutes before serving. Serve on a wooden board with crackers, and enjoy with a glass of Jacob’s Creek Sparkling Chardonnay Pinot Noir!