New Year’s Eve doesn’t have to be dramatic.
For some of us it’s Netflix or a Harry Potter marathon.
Or the World Junior Hockey Championships (yawn).
Whatever your plans, these Chocolate Cherry Almond Brie Bundles will add some panache.
It’s a once a year kind of thing: buttery layers of phyllo baked around a wedge of brie, dried sour cherries, toasted almonds and some dark chocolate.
A splash of Kirsch or Amaretto would be a nice touch, too, if you have those kind of things on hand. (I don’t.)
Tips to make working with phyllo a breeze:
1. Thaw your phyllo pastry overnight in the fridge, rather than leaving it out at room temperature. This will help prevent damp spots on the pastry that can cause the sheets to stick together.
2. Get all your ingredients ready before you take out the phyllo.That will help you work more quickly and avoid opportunities for the dough to dry out.
3. When you are not using the phyllo, cover it with a dampened cloth that has been wrung out very well to remove excess moisture. If your cloth is too damp, it will make the phyllo soggy. You can put a sheet of plastic wrap under the towel if you are not sure.
4. Don’t leave your phyllo uncovered for more than a minute.When it dries it becomes brittle and breaks into flakes.
5. Brush the phyllo with oil or melted butter as you layer it. Brush the edges first to keep them from drying. You don’t need to cover every bit of the dough.
6. Handle the phyllo gently, but don’t worry if a layer tears while you are working. Just put another layer on top, and your recipe will work out fine.
7. Place a piece of parchment paper over any unused phyllo and roll it up. Wrap it in plastic wrap and store in the fridge for up two weeks or back in the freezer for up to two months.
Cheers and Best Wishes for the New Year!
- 2/3 cup / 160 ml dried sour cherries coarsely chopped
- 1/3 cup / 80 ml whole almonds toasted and finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons / 45 ml grated dark chocolate or finely chopped chocolate chips
- 1 6- inch / 15 cm wheel of Brie
- 6 sheets of phyllo pastry
- 1/3 cup / 80 ml melted butter
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F / 190 degrees C.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In small bowl, combine cherries, almonds and chocolate. Stir until evenly mixed.
Cut Brie into 8 wedges.
On working surface, lay out one layer of phyllo. Keep other layers covered with a slightly damp towel to keep it from drying out.
Lightly brush the phyllo layer on your work surface with melted butter.Top with another layer of phyllo and brush new layer with butter.Top with one more layer of phyllo and brush very lightly with butter.
Cut pastry into 2 pieces by cutting in half vertically. You will have 2 long rectangles. Place a wedge of Brie in the middle of each rectangle and top with approximately 2 tablespoons of the cherry mixture.
Fold the sides of the pastry over the Brie, then bring one of the long pieces over the top and lightly brush with butter. Bring the other side to cover the bundle, and stand the edges to fan over the middle. (Don't worry if they don't look perfect.They will look wonderful when baked.)
Place your bundles on prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining phyllo.
Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes, or until phyllo is golden brown. Let the bundles cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.
If you can find some Italian amaretti cookies, they would be a nice addition to these bundles. Crush 8 cookies into fine crumbs and sprinkle about 2 teaspoons over the butter between the layers of phyllo.