Wednesday, November 3, 2010

On the 26th day of Thanksgiving, my true love fed to me...

...a delicious baked pear Brie!
   I know, I know, I'm a day late...and it's only just begun! No fear, bloggers....today I'm presenting Days 26 and 25 recipes, little brunch recipes that make a great addendum to your Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade annual watching ritual. At least in my house, it is. One of my fondest Thanksgiving memories was waking up early with my mom to watch the giant balloons invade the streets of Manhattan; the air in the house fragrant with turkey and mashed potatoes, with a hint of coffee wafting through. We clamored over each deliciously gaudy float, laughed uncontrollably when Snoopy or Spiderman inevitably escaped their captors and attacked the high rises, and clapped and celebrated when Santa finally made it to Rockefeller Square. There are a few childhood moments that I relish and want to recreate with my daughter, and the Thanksgiving Parade is one of them. Thanks Mom.
    So, for all the busy moms and dads out there whose kids'll be dragging them up earlier than Tom Turkey to wait for Santa to usher in the Christmas season, I present for you two simple, do-ahead hot pastries that can go great with either coffee, mulled cider, hot tea, or even a preemptive glass of holiday wine (my particular choice!). Make them the night before, freeze, and turn on the oven when you brew the coffee. You and yours will be rewarded with buttery, indulgent goodness that will fill you up, but not so much that the main meal will be spoiled. Enjoy!

Peppery Baked Pear Brie - serves 6-8
4 tbsp. butter
3 Bartlett or Bosc pears, peeled, cored, and diced
1 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 wheel Brie cheese (such as President)*
2 frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed according to package
1 egg, beaten

In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Saute pears and brown sugar in butter until very soft and browned. Stir in pepper. Cool completely.
Lay puff pastry sheet on work surface. Mound all pears in center of pastry. Place wheel of cheese on top of pears, pressing slightly so pears reach edges of cheese.  Gently pull up sides and corners of dough to completely cover the pears, overlapping in a circle; pinch the top and sides together to seal. Flip over, wrap in plastic, and freeze. (Pastry can also be baked fresh).
The morning of, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place frozen Brie on a baking sheet, brush the top and sides with the beaten egg, and put into oven. Bake until pastry is golden and Brie is soft, about 35-40 minutes (tent with foil if browning too fast; if baking without being frozen, check at 25 minutes). Serve with Triscuits or your favorite sturdy cracker.

Blueberry Thyme Pinwheels - serves 6-8
2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 block (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
2 cups frozen blueberries
3 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves, loosely packed
1 beaten egg

Lay out 1 sheet of pastry on work surface. Spread half the cream cheese to within 1 inch of one short end of dough, and leaving a 1 inch border on the two long sides. Top cream cheese with 1 cup blueberries and 1 1/2 tbsp. thyme. Beginning at filled short end, roll dough tightly to unfilled edge, laying seam side down on baking sheet. Pinch ends to seal. Repeat with second pastry. (If desired, place in freezer at this point. Pastry can also be baked fresh)
Before baking, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice pastry in 1/2 inch thick slices and lay on parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush tops with beaten egg. Bake for 13-16 minutes, until golden brown and puffy. Serve hot.

* I find my President Brie at Costco - it's the perfect wheel size for this recipe.

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