For the first time in months, I was left with an empty weekend. No weddings. No parties. No baseball games. No dinners. No birthdays. Nothing. And I took full advantage by doing… you guessed it, absolutely nothing. Well, practically nothing.
My Friday night was spent giving out candy to the non-existent trick-or-treators in our neighborhood, eating pizza and watching a marathon of awesomely bad horror movies. I feel like I have to mention my utter disappointment by the turn out of trick-or-treators in our neighborhood. We literally had one, ONE all night long, and this particular individual didn’t even count since it was our neighbor. I wouldn’t normally find this to be disturbing, but our neighborhood is FULL of children. What happened to a good old-fashioned Halloween? Apparently all of the kids in our neighborhood now go up to the shops near our house to trick-or-treat, which to me, is pretty sad. Has the world really become so poisoned that children can’t even go door-to-door on Halloween anymore?
The rest of the weekend, we stayed cocooned up in our house, only leaving briefly to go to the grocery store and to get an artery-clogging batch of take-out Saturday night (chicken fingers and wings). The better part of Sunday was spent lying around, watching football (not by choice) and getting down on this Baked Brie with Candied Pancetta, Pecans and Spicy Cranberries.
Since it’s officially November, I find it only appropriate to start bringing back all things turkey, stuffing, sweet potato and cranberries. Kevin and I have even discussed putting up our Christmas lights if a warm weekend comes our way. And no we don’t plan on actually turning them on until AFTER Thanksgiving. It’s just that Kansas weather is so gosh darn unpredictable that we have to take advantage of the nice days we have, otherwise my poor husband might be stuck stringing Christmas lights in the midst of a blizzard.
Of course since I’m babbling on about Thanksgiving and Christmas lights, holiday food isn’t too far off in my mind. I’ve been thumbing through old Christmas issues of Food and Wine and Bon Appetite, both of which contained recipes for baked brie. I took it as a sign from the holiday gods, and moseyed on over to the grocery store where I debated for 20 minutes on whether I needed brie, camembert or triple crème.
I went with triple crème.
This baked brie is not only the perfect addition to your pre-dinner Thanksgiving extravaganza, but will also easily carry you well into the holiday season with pops of festive red, sweet and salty pancetta and the mascot of holiday nuts – pecans.
Gooey brie is baked until the insides are completely melted and starting to ooze out the sides of the rind. Hot out of the oven it’s topped with a sweet and spicy homemade cranberry sauce – which can easily double as the sauce for your turkey – and then covered in candied pancetta and pecans.
Cheesy. Sweet. Salty. Spicy. Decadent.
- 2-8 ounce wheels of tripe crème brie
- 1 ½ cups cranberries
- ½ cup sugar
- ¼ cup water
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ½ cup pecans, chopped
- ¼ pound pancetta cut into a dice
- 2 ½ tablespoon packed brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons water
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- cayenne pepper (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place brie wheels on a baking sheet and place in the oven. Bake until inside is melted, about 10-15 minutes.
- For the pancetta and pecans. Cook pancetta in a medium-sized non-stick pan until all fat is rendered and pancetta is crisp. Remove from pan, drain on paper towels. Clean pan out. Place pancetta and pecans back in the pan and turn onto a medium heat. Add brown sugar and water. Cook until brown sugar is melted and the sticky mixture has coated all of the pancetta and nuts. Add salt. Stir frequently and be sure to not burn.
- Place cranberries, sugar, water and red pepper flakes in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasional.
- When brie is ready, transfer to a platter. Evenly top brie wheels first with cranberry sauce and then with candied pecans and pancetta. Serve immediately.