Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Thanksgiving Leftovers: Cranberry Baked Brie Bites

Well, Thanksgiving came and Thanksgiving went.

We all ate a little too much turkey, a little too much gravy, way too many slices of pie, and more scoops of mashed potatoes than we care to count.

Despite all of this overeating, one thing is always certain...

No matter how fast Thanksgiving comes and goes, the leftovers are here to stay.

Most leftovers are pretty easy to tackle. Turkey can be made into yummy soups and stews and sandwiches. Mashed potatoes and vegetables make a great base for lunch.

But what about that pesky cranberry sauce?? Is it an easy part of the meal to throw away? Sure. But I say, waste not!

Let's put that cranberry sauce to new use. Let's grab a couple of sheets of frozen puff pastry. Let's put brie and cranberry sauce/chutney/preserves inside. Let's call it---Baked Brie Bites.

I was originally inspired by this Joy the Baker recipe. I'm pretty sure my mouth started watering as I read through the description. I don't tend to have too much jelly/jam/marmalade on hand, but thanks to Thanksgiving (how punny!)--I did have plenty of Cranberry Apple Chutney leftover!

I absolutely recommend serving these hot out of the oven--they make a great appetizer. I have also been enjoying a few of them for breakfast each morning alongside scrambled eggs (it's like an adult bite-sized Pop Tart! Rejoice!).

Here's what you need for Cranberry Baked Brie Bites:

1 package (2 sheets) frozen puff pastry (thawed overnight in the fridge)
1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon milk
4 oz or so brie cheese (wedge or log, either will work) sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
1/3 cup cranberry chutney (or sauce, or marmalade)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Here's what you do:

Unfold the puff pastry. It should have 3 even panels; cut vertically into 3 pieces using the crease marks as a guide.
Cut each panel in half horizontally, then cut each half in half again to create 4 rectangles.

Finally, for each rectangle, cut in half vertically so that you are left with 48 pieces of puff pastry. (I think Joy the Baker does a better job of documenting how to cut the pastry, so head on over to her post if you need further instructions)
Brush one side of one piece of pastry with the egg and milk mixture. Use a fork to poke small holes in the bottom* (this will prevent it from puffing up too much).
Place a piece of brie on top of the egg-washed side of the pastry. Top with about 1/2 teaspoon or so of the cranberry sauce.

Use your fingers to stretch out another piece of the puff pastry and place it over the cranberry sauce. Using a fork, crimp all four sides well in order to seal the pastry. Brush the top with a little more egg wash, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Again, prick small holes on the top piece of pastry as well.

Once you have made all of the bites, arrange on a parchment lined baking sheet.

Bake at 350 degrees until the pastries have puffed up slightly and are golden brown (about 15 minutes).
Let cool slightly before serving.

*I only pricked the pastry on the top panel, but I still found that the amount of puff overwhelmed the gooey inside. By adding an additional prick on the bottom, I think there will be a more even distribution of pastry, cheese, and cranberry!

You could store these in the refridgerator in an air tight container for about 3 days. I have seriously reheated these for breakfast, snacks, and dessert. I LOVE sweet and savory together!

How are you creatively using up your Turkey Day leftovers?!

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