Easy Baked Brie

There are so many different schools of thought on the appropriate cocktail party menu in terms of both quantity and variety.  While I'm not a cocktail party expert (I just enjoy hosting them…a lot), one rule that I have always stuck with is that you should always plan to serve at least one or two hot hors d'oeuvres.  

This is definitely not a hard thing to do, nor should it sound intimidating.  I initially got started serving hot hors d'oeuvres because of the fabulous selection of heat and serve options available at my local grocery stores.  I now have a repertoire of my favorite heat and serve hors d'oeuvres, but as I have continued to grow (in the culinary sense), I have wanted to create my own hot hors d'oeuvre recipes that are easy to make and delicious (just like the heat and serve options I have loved for years!).  

A baked brie recipe seemed like the easiest starting point with the highest likelihood of recipe creation success.  I wanted to come up with something unique, delicious and full of tips on the best products and techniques to use so that I could share them with you!  Below is the breakdown of my Candied Walnut and Quince Paste Baked Brie Recipe.  


  • 1 Brie Wheel
  • 1 Sheet Frozen Puff Pastry Dough (thawed)  *Recommend Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry*
  • 2 Tbs Chopped Candied Walnuts
  • 1 1/2 Tbs Quince Paste
  • 1 Egg + a splash of water (My Brie Egg Wash)


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Roll out thawed puff pastry sheet
  3. Place brie wheel centered on puff pastry sheet
  4. Spread 1 1/2 Tablespoons of Quince Paste on top of brie wheel
  5. Add chopped candied walnuts
  6. Gather pastry sheet and pinch closed over brie wheel and toppings
  7. Brush pastry with egg wash
  8. Bake on a lined cookie sheet for 20min
  9. Remove from oven and serve hot

Hot hors d'oeuvres are a great addition to your cocktail party menu and while I am still a fan of the different store bought heat and serve appetizers, I love that I now have this baked brie recipe to add to my repertoire. 

Learning About Cheese

If there is one thing you should know about me by now, through my instagram or even previous posts, is that I love to "cheesescape."  I think that a cheeseboard is a great cocktail party staple and has the ability to be constantly reinvented depending on the time of year/season/occasion you are serving the cheeseboard.  In addition to my love of cheesescaping, I really do love to learn (sounds so dorky, I know). So naturally, I have an insatiable appetite for any/all information about cheese pairings, regional cheeses, serving and storing cheeses, etc.  I find myself constantly Pinteresting for new cheesescape presentation ideas and also with my head in books trying to learn all that I can to elevate my cheesescape complexity with each presentation.  

Over time, I have discovered a core repertoire of cheese resources (aside from Pinterest) that have been a huge help advancing my personal cheesescape skill level.  The Murray's Cheese Handbook, by: Rob Kaufelt and Cheese Primer, by: Steven Jenkins, are two resources that I would recommend to anyone looking to learn more about cheeses and the art of creating a cheeseboard (aka "cheesescaping").  Both books provide a wide array of applicable knowledge needed for selecting, pairing, serving and even storing cheeses.  These books are packed with great information on cheeses and tips on creating that perfect cheeseboard.   Below I have provided few of my favorite highlights about each book:

Favorite Features from Cheese Primer: 

  • How to properly store cheese
  • What to look for when purchasing Cheese and how to serve the cheese
  • Tips on assembling a cheese board
  • Suggested Cheeseboard Pairings with Wine Suggestions (themed by geographic region and/or season)
  • What to do with leftover cheese
  • A complete breakdown of all different types of cheeses around the world

Favorite Features from The Murray's Cheese Handbook:

  • Cheese 101- Understanding the different types of milk used to make cheese, the difference between pasteurized and unpasteurized cheese, 
  • Seasonal Cheeses
  • Breaking down the 7 different categories of cheeses
  • How to order the presentation of cheeses on your cheese board
  • Some favorite domestic cheeses with suggested wines and other accouterments that pair well with each cheese.

In addition, Murray's Cheese Website has a great amount of helpful tips and resources available for learning more about cheeses and an array of different pairings

Favorite weekend morning activity - Breakfast and a little Cheese Reading

Favorite weekend morning activity - Breakfast and a little Cheese Reading

There is no denying that the best way to educate yourself on cheeses is to actually go to cheesemonger and taste/experience the varieties of cheeses firsthand.  However, if you aren't in a position (ex. geographic, available free time, knowing a good local cheesemonger, etc.), these books are excellent resources for learning the basics of cheeses, pairings and cheesescaping. 

My First (and most Classic) "Cheesescape"

I love to "Cheesescape" (actually that is a huge understatement).  For those of you who have seen my Instagram posts, this probably isn't news to you, but for those of you who haven't had the opportunity to get to know me through my instagram or in person, yes, I am a "Cheesescape" fanatic.  

What is a "Cheesescape?"  I am sure this term probably has been in existence for a long time and I would never take credit for discovering the term, but it wasn't a term that I had researched or heard about.  It actually just came to my brain one day while preparing for a dinner party I was hosting that night.  I had just finished setting the table (aka Tablescaping) and was in the midst of assembling my first cheeseboard when the term happened to come to me.  "Cheesescape" is my word for decorating a cheeseboard.

This cheeseboard was a wonderful mix of flavors.  While their were certain pairings on this board that were exceptional together (like the pear crisps with the chili flake encrusted goat cheese drizzled with sourwood honey), the 3 cheese I selected for this board were fairly mild in flavor so  all of the different elements here were very "mix and match" friendly.  

Here is a breakdown of everything I used to "scape" this board:  



  • Fresh Granny Smith Apple (sliced thinly with fresh squeezed lemon juice poured over the flesh to keep it from turning brown)
  • Red Apricot (they were in season at the time of this scape)
  • Dried Tart Cherries
  • Dried Fruit Medley


Fresh Herbs:

While this is sure to be only the first of many cheesescaping posts, I hope that it provides you with a little inspiration for the next time (or possibly first time) you "Cheesescape."