A Wreath Awry

This blog was written nearly two years ago, but with the holiday season coming up, I thought it was appropriate for posting. The idea of it was brilliant, the execution, not so much…

Even though the Christmas season was officially over on January 6 with the Epiphany-Feast of the Three Kings, that didn’t stop us from including a nod to the holiday at our house party a few days later.

I found this Cranberry and Brie Puff Pastry Wreath recipe online at Simply Delicious and thought what an impressive appetizer it would make. Golden puff pastry is filled with sweet cranberry sauce, oozy brie cheese and pistachios that screams “eat me!”

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Although a bit lack-luster in appearance, the first piece is sliced off the wreath.

An hour before guests were due to arrive I pulled out the dough that had been thawing in the fridge for the past day. And when I opened the package, my heart sank—it was phyllo dough NOT puff pastry, yikes! Russ said I might as well just throw it in the garbage because I couldn’t refreeze it—and off to the store he went…

Once he got home with the prized package, I only had 30 minutes before company was expected, and the pastry needed to thaw before I could work with it—about 40 minutes according to the directions. Well that wasn’t an option, so to expedite the process, I put it in a ziploc bag that was then emerged into a bowl of warm water. That did the trick for the most part, but because it was rolled into itself, the center panel was still frozen.

With just minutes to spare before the doorbell rang, I was able to whip it together and clean up my mess. After 15 minutes in the oven I pulled it out and found that most of the brie had oozed out into the center circle (known for erring on the side of more rather than less, I likely put too much cheese in the wreath.) Not to be deterred, I suggested spooning the cheese back into the open crevices of the wreath, and my friend Maria Odilia offered her services.

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Next we had to slide it onto a serving plate. Without going into too many details, Maria suggested I use a different plate than the one I had pulled out—which actually was the second choice (the first being too big). Once all the drama was done, and the rest of the party arrived, no one was the wiser on the back story, and the wreath got rave reviews from all who tried it… Now if I can only get the presentation down…

Ingredients

  • 1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
  • 2-3 Tbsp. cranberry sauce
  • 8 oz. Brie cheese, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp. pistachio nuts, roughly chopped
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Sea salt

Directions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 400ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or pizza stone).
  2. Roll the pastry out to around 1/4″ thick and cut a large circle out of the pastry.
  3. Lay the pastry on the prepared baking sheet.
  4. Mark a circle with a medium-sized ball and with a sharp knife, cut 4 cuts into the center circle. (As demonstrated in the video.)
  5. Spread the cranberry sauce around the center “star” then top with the Brie and pistachios.
  6. Bring one point of the center star over the filling as well as bringing the outer edge of pastry inwards. Press the two together and continue until you have a wreath.
  7. Brush with beaten egg, sprinkle lightly with sea salt, then place in the oven and allow to bake for 15 minutes until golden brown and cooked through.
  8. Remove from the oven, allow to rest for 5 minutes then slice and serve.

Adapted from a recipe found online at Simply Delicious by Alida Ryder

A Step-By-Step Pictorial:

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Roll out the dough large enough to accommodate a large round plate. With a sharp knife, cut out the circle.

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Place the round puff pastry on the parchment lined baking sheet.

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Place a small round bowl approximately 4-5″ wide in the center of the dough. Trace around the bowl, making sure not to cut through.

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With a sharp knife, slice 4 X’s through the center circle so that you end up with 8 triangles.

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With a tablespoon, spread the cranberry sauce in the center all the way around.

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Place brie slices on top of the cranberry sauce.

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Chopped pistachios are scattered on top of the brie.

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Bring one point of the center star over the filling as well as bringing the outer edge of pastry inwards.

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Brush on an egg wash over the entire puff pastry.

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The wreath is assembled and ready for the oven.

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Since the brie oozed into the center opening, it was spooned back into the open pockets before moving to the serving plate. 

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