• Mon, Jun 25 2012

Learning To Cook Reluctantly: Real Classy Food, Real Simple

Well, the water fast is over.

Let’s eat all the cheese!

how to bake brie

In fact, let us have a specific cheese eating party. You know. Like a party for lotus eaters, but with dairy products. I suppose if you live in a world where people think that water fasts are totally normal, they’re actually fairly comparable. In any case, one of my favorite foods is baked brie. I think this may be because, when I was a kid, my mother packed a wheel of brie in my lunchbox. Why? People make choices. It took me about an entire year before I realized that it was supposed to be spread on crackers and not eaten whole, rind and all, like a sandwich.

Baked brie strikes that perfect combination between childhood nostalgia for being the weirdest girl in 3rd grade and being-a-real-thing-people-eat-normally. And it’s delicious – because it is like a pizza folded in half, but a piazza made out of pasty dough and brie. So, double plus good pizza.

I always figured that baked was the kind of food made only by professional chefs and served at restaurants sometimes referred to as “boites”, until I realized that, no. Until I realized that was wrong.

Baked brie is the kind of food that looks incredibly impressive when you produce it at a cocktail party, but is so simple to make that even I can do it without completely destroying my oven. I wish I had known this years ago.

I found a wonderful recipe for it here. You’ll need:

Pilsbury crescent rolls

One egg

A wheel of brie

Some kind of normal jam (even if your inclination is to go for “gooseberry” I don’t think this is the time to take chances. I think you should be fearful of cool foreign options whose berry source you can’t visualize in your head. Apricot or strawberry are good choices. Play this like a Republican.)

And that is all.

You will also need music for sophisticates. I recommend:

or, alternatively:

Either one of those are good. Both of them are about people who have not known the ecstasy of baked brie.

I began by pre-heating the oven to 350.

Little did I know tragedy was about to strike.

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  • Tania

    I’d only bother with a real rolling pin if you plan on starting to make your own pie crusts instead of buying pre-made ones. Or cinnamon rolls. Otherwise you seem to have the whole improvisation thing down.

    The 9-inch pan is a must, especially for roasting veggies or baking brownies that won’t leak all over your oven. Hmm, a whisk and a peeler were things that I forgot I needed. Paring knives are great.

    Other than those, if I don’t have something I improvise with what I do have. No casserole dish, but I have bread pans (I don’t know why I have a bread pan) and they work well enough.

    They don’t tell you that half of cooking is improvising with what you have, both utensils and ingredients.

  • Angyi

    I refer to Pertetualkid.com to find any cooking utensils I need. If I can’t find it there I sneak into my mothers house by the light of the moon and “borrow” what I need. If you do this be sure to leave a friendly note in the empty space of her cabinets.

    Also, thi might be helpful to you.
    http://www.perpetualkid.com/twiggy-basting-brush.aspx

  • Cat

    I know! I LOVE baked brie! I discovered how to do this in high school! Its the simplest easiest party food ever and everyone is always super impressed. (little did they know it took me barely 10min to prepare, heh heh)

    For a great savory baked brie, I top the round of brie with a mound of super caramelized onions, yum! And if you want to be calorie/carb conscious (well you probably shouldnt be eating brie) you can skip the pastry dough entirely and, after topping it with the onions, just bake the brie in a ceramic crock or covered casserole dish to make it all melty and gooey and delicious! (but keep the rind on this time because it will hold the cheese together until you cut into it)

  • Natalie

    No real advantage to rolling pin/pastry brush other than they are easier to use and clean. I’d say go with a good set of pots/pans/bake wear. If you want to just buy pieces and not spend a shit ton, go to TJ Maxx or Marshal’s. They actually have some good stuff. And a good set of knifes goes a longggg way!

  • Kate

    I like to use a wine bottle as a rolling pin.

    I also don’t think you need a full set of knives – a paring knife, a good chef’s knife, and a good bread knife will do pretty much everything (I have them on a little magnetic strip on my wall).

    The cookware I can’t live without are my cast-iron skillet (it can go on the stove or in the oven), small nonstick skillet (eggs!), pot for pasta, and a small pot that has a pour spout. Oh, and a 13×9 brownie pan. As far as kitchen utensils go, I think the necessities are a good pair of tongs, a wooden spoon, a silicon spatula (perfect for eggs!), and a turner that’s thin enough to get under anything sticking to a pan. I’m also madly in love with my $10 slicer from Walmart because I hate chopping things.

  • Val

    Loved this article! informative/funny/ and l’ll be real, I’ve adapted a hair styling tool for cooking utensil before.

  • Melanie the Constant Reader

    Okay. I’m about to try this in my tiny-ass apartment kitchen. With BLACK RASPBERRY jam. It better be as awesome as you say because, um, I didn’t get anything else for dinner.

    http://melanietheconstantreader.blogspot.com/