Life in a Northern Town

A Puff Pastry Package

I think about food a lot. I collect cookbooks, research recipes on the internet and invariably, most of my conversations end up in food land. I had a meeting last week and somewhere between how many servers and what to do if it rains, brie en croute with mascarpone and truffle oil popped up.  As luck would have it, there was a large wheel of sheep's milk brie in my refrigerator. Looks like I had a lovely puff pastry package in my future.

If the phrase, 'process until mixture resembles coarse meal' strikes terror in your heart, head over to the frozen food aisle in the grocery store and check out the puff pastry. I use Pepperidge Farms and it has never failed me, light and flaky every time. On my way to the frozen food aisle, I spied a package of mixed exotic mushrooms. Sautéed mushrooms would be the pièce de résistance in my flaky bundle of cheesy love.

There was something missing and I couldn't put my finger on it. It needed a little zip to highlight the earthy flavors of the brie and mushrooms. Back to the refrigerator for a sherry vinegar glaze. I am a firm believer in vinegar; it's bright acidity plays beautifully against a variety of different flavors— savory and sweet. I figured with the rich puff pastry, cheese and mushrooms, a tangy sherry vinegar glaze would be a tasty counterpoint. Plus, it looked gorgeous.

I sealed the puff pastry, applied an egg wash and popped it in the oven. I forgot to take a picture of the finished product. I was blinded by the gooey, mushroomy goodness and started to eat before I remembered to take a picture. Some of the cheese had seeped out, I think I may have rolled the dough out a little too thin, but it was delicious. This is going into the 'make this again' pile but it seems better suited to a cool fall evening. Next time, I am going to pair it with a green salad and a glass of champagne— a perfect light dinner.

Brie en Croute with Mascarpone, Wild Mushrooms & Truffle Oil

1/2 pound wild mushrooms

2 tbsp butter

1 frozen puff pastry sheet, thawed according to package directions (I use Pepperidge Farms)

1/2 cup mascarpone cheese

1 tbsp truffle oil

2 - 3 tbsp of sherry vinegar glaze (I use Columela)

One 14 - 17 ounce wheel of brie, chilled

1 egg

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Melt butter in a sauté pan and add mushrooms. Saute until softened and set aside.

On a lightly floured surface roll out 1 sheet of pastry into a 13-inch square.

Cut off the sides of the brie and horizontally halve it. Mix the mascarpone and truffle oil together and place on top of the bottom half of the brie round. Cover with the mushroom mixture, drizzle sherry vinegar glaze on top and place the remaining half of Brie, cut side down, on top of it.

Without over-stretching the pastry, wrap it snugly up over brie and press the edges together to seal. In a small bowl lightly beat egg and brush over the pastry covered brie. Place brie on a parchment covered sheet tray and chill, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Brie may be made up to  this point 1 day ahead and chilled, loosely covered.

Bake Brie in middle of oven until pastry is puffed and golden, about 20 minutes. Let brie stand in pan on a rack 15 minutes and  transfer with a spatula to a serving plate.