Flaky, creamy, and sweet, these Brie and Jam Puff Pastry Bites are the perfect holiday or party appetizer!
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Personally, I believe that appetizers must have a few key elements to be considered successful. First, they should be easy to make (or make-ahead) and easy to eat. It's even better if they can be consumed in a couple of bites to avoid any mess (like these Cream Cheese and Pepper Jelly Puff Pastry Bites). Secondly, they should possess a good variety of textures and flavors (like these Caramelized Onion Tarts). And lastly, they should look appetizing (hence the name)! These Brie and Jam Puff Pastry Bites manage to accomplish all of these measures and more!
This appetizer recipe is almost in the style of a classic vol-au-vent, or puff pastry shell that is filled in the middle. It's delicate, flaky, creamy sweet and so delicious.
The only real question to consider is whether you are willing to make the puff pastry from scratch or not. I highly recommend it (it will be a better quality, taste more delicious, and cost less), but I'm also realistic that sometimes we need shortcuts, so store-bought puff pastry is fine too.
So, let's get to making it, shall we? The article below is jam-packed full of useful information. You can jump around using the menu below or skip to the end of the article for the full recipe.
Ingredients Needed and Substitutions
Here is a brief overview of the ingredients needed for this recipe. See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.
- puff pastry (the easiest route is to use store-bought puff pastry...However, this rough puff pastry recipe is truly easy, or if you really want to go all in, there is a traditional puff pastry recipe available too. For more information, please see below.
- jam (some good flavors that go with brie are cranberry, cherry, plum, but feel free to get creative here)
- brie cheese (use your favorite type of brie here, and see below for more information on how to prep it)
- fresh rosemary (though fresh thyme or chives would also be a good choice here)
- egg wash (which is just egg and water!)
What Type of Puff Pastry to Use
If you did choose to make the puff pastry, this Brie and Jam bite recipe only requires a half the batch from the rough puff pastry recipe (about 18 oz). So you can save the other half for another recipe like these Puff Pastry Tomato Tart, something sweet like these Cherry Turnovers, or you can make a double batch of this Brie and Jam Bites!
Is store-bought puff pastry good?
Yes, it's totally fine to use! Just note: depending on the type of puff pastry you buy, the exact quantity of puff pastry bites you get may vary.
Purchased puff pastry typically either comes in one folded 14-ounce sheet or in two folded 8-ounce sheets. But I haven't tried all brands, so your store-bought puff pastry may be different than this.
A Quick Note about the Steps
There are many different ways to make this type of two-bite puff pastry appetizer. Lots of other recipes call for baking in a muffin tin. However, I found that while that method does keep the number of hands-on steps to a minimum, the final product wasn't as good as it could be.
So instead, this recipe is almost a play on a vol-au-vent (a classic French with a hollow puff pastry case filled with either a sweet or savory filling). The instructions call for partially baking puff pastry circles and then making an indentation in the center. This recess is filled with jam and Brie, and then returned to the oven to finish cooking.
I chose this method for two big reasons:
- Adding the brie and jam directly to the unbaked puff pastry resulted in both elements getting overbaked and leaking everywhere.
- Using a muffin tin can results in undercooked puff pastry
So, while my technique has a few extra steps compared to others, please trust that it's worth the effort. Not only are these appetizers actually very stunning, but the taste and texture of the final result make up for the extra 15 minutes of prep work.
Not convinced and wondering if it can be done quicker?
Fine! Bake these in a mini muffin tin all together with the puff pastry jam and brie. However, be warned that I don't think the final result is as good as the one achieved if following all the steps in this recipe.
A Few Notes on Brie
Brie is a soft and creamy cheese known for its velvety texture and subdued, buttery flavor. It has a "bloomy rind" which is perfectly edible. It adds additional textural elements and another flavor component to the cheese. However, if you prefer to cut some, or all of it off, that is up to you. I personally like the added taste and texture it adds, so I leave most of it on.
Step-By-Step Recipe Overview
This is a quick visual overview of the steps needed to make this recipe. This is not the actual recipe, located at the end of this article and has much greater detail to ensure success.
Step 1: Prepare the puff pastry and stamp out the circles.
Step 2: Press a smaller cutter in the pastry's center (avoid going through it). Use a fork to create steam holes. It helps pastry puff in the right places.
Step 3: Brush with an egg wash, then let it chill in the freezer while the rest of the ingredients are prepared.
Step 4: Cut up the bree and place the jam in a piping bag or ziploc bag with a square corner.
Step 5: Partially blind bake the puff pastry, then push in the center to make an indent.
Step 6: Pipe the jam in the hole.
Step 7: Place a piece of brie in the center.
Step 8: Return to the oven to finish baking.
You can tell the puff pastry bites are done when the pastry is evenly golden and the brie is melty.
Let me start this off by sharing the golden rule when it comes to working with puff pastry: if at any point your puff pastry is getting warm, place it in the refrigerator or freezer to chill. Warm pastry is sticky and difficult to work with, and if it gets too warm, it can bake up poorly.
A few more tips:
- Chill the puff pastry before baking! Chilling the pastry before baking makes the puff pastry bake up higher.
- Bake on the middle rack: this ensures the puff pastry bakes throughout but doesn't brown too much on the bottom.
- This recipe requires taking the puff pastry out before it is actually done baking. To ensure the best results, work quickly when filling the par-baked puff pastry shells and put it right back in the oven as soon as possible. Making sure all your mise en place is ready before you put the pastry in the oven to par-bake is important.
Once the tarts come out of the oven, let them cool briefly. Then sprinkle them liberally with fresh picked thyme leaves (or chives!). These taste best when still warm, but are good at room temperature too.
These puff pastry bites are at their best when consumed on the day they are made. However, I have stored them in both the refrigerator and freezer before. Although they don't taste as good as the fresh ones, once defrosted and reheated, they still taste pretty good! I have had success toasting them from frozen as well as defrosting and then toasting.
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