The perfect holiday party appetizer -- puff pastry sealed around melted brie and tart cranberry jam. Inspired by Joy the Baker and Love, Cake. Feel free to substitute the puff pastry or jam with storebought to make party planning easier! —Cynthia Chen McTernan
for the cranberry jam
lime zest (or any other citrus zest)
lime juice (or any other juice)
ground cinnamon (optional)
for the puff pastry, and everything else
1 1/4 cups
(2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, very cold, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
6 to 8 tablespoons
egg yolk, for brushing and sealing
water or milk
In This Recipe
To make the cranberry jam, combine cranberries, sugar, lime zest, lime juice, salt, and cinnamon in a small pot over medium-high heat. (I know, it seemed crazy to me that there was so little liquid. But it’s magic.) Stir the mixture continuously as it heats; after a few minutes, the sugar will become liquid, and after a few more, the cranberries will begin to pop.
When the mixture is fully liquid, turn the heat down to low and let it simmer for around ten to fifteen more minutes. A few minutes before removing from the heat, you can add a sprinkle of cornstarch to aid in setting the jam, but it’s not really necessary. (I also didn’t find the need to create a slurry beforehand.) Pour into a clean jar and let cool before chilling in the refrigerator.
To make the pastry, first whisk together flour, salt, and sugar in a large bowl. Add the butter pieces and mix again briefly, just to distribute throughout. Next, add 6 tablespoons water (best to try to sprinkle it over the entire mixture) and mix with a fork just until the dough comes together, as gently as possible. It’s fine and preferable to keep chunks of butter intact — it will add to the flakiness. If you’re seeing a lot of loose flour after mixing for awhile, add a little more water, one tablespoon at a time. (KAF also recommends spritzing with a water spray bottle if you have one.) But work with it a little and see if it doesn’t come together first.
When it’s holding together, turn the mixture out onto a work surface and shape into a rectangle about the size of a piece of paper, with the short side facing you. Fold dough into thirds like a letter — bottom third up, then top third over the bottom third. Rotate the dough, so that the short side faces you again, and fold into a letter again. Lightly flour the surface as necessary, then rotate to the short side one more time and fold again. Wrap with plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
After the dough has rested, fold into letters three more times, wrap, and refrigerate for at least one more hour. After this, you’re ready to roll the dough out and cut it into rounds for use. I divided the dough into two balls and rolled each into squares that were about 12” to 16” across. Using a cookie cutter, biscuit cutter, or just a regular drinking glass, cut the dough into circles. My batch yielded about 48 rounds. The dough will likely have softened by this point — I placed them in a single layer onto saran wrap, place another piece of saran wrap over that, and refrigerated them again until firm.
Finally, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Whisk the egg yolk and a splash of water together to make the egg wash. For each puff, lay out one round and brush it with egg wash — this will help seal the puff shut. Place a slice of brie and a dollop of cranberry jam on the bottom round. Take another round and stretch it a bit between your fingers (it needs to be a bit bigger to fit over the filling) and place it on top. Crimp the edges shut with the tines of a fork, brush egg wash over the top, and prick the puff in the center to ventilate.
Place the sealed rounds on a parchment-lined baking sheet — they can be as close together as you like, since they will not spread (just puff!) Bake at 375 degrees for 12-14 minutes or until golden brown on top. Let cool slightly, and serve! They’re delicious warm or room temperature.