Food and Drink

Baked brie with caramelized onion and apple: It’s melty cheese dressed up for the holiday season

Here’s an easy way to serve up melted cheese without having to pull out a fondue maker and all the accompanying accoutrements. Brie rind is edible and doesn’t need to be removed, but if you find it too thick, use a knife or a vegetable peeler to gently scrape off some of the rind from the top layer. Add caramelized onion and apple and this starter is sure to be the star of your holiday gatherings. Or make it for a last-minute supper with a green salad and some roasted vegetables. Leftovers can be tossed into an omelet or as a layer to add depth to a grilled cheese sandwich or baked mac and cheese. For a sweet version, top with fruit jam or chutney. Or toss some nuts and dried fruit with a few tablespoons of honey and a few cracks of pepper before topping and baking.

Baked Brie with caramelized onion and apple

12 ounces small cherry tomatoes, preferably on the vine

Extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 small yellow or white onion (about 6 ounces), halved and thinly sliced

1 small apple, cored and stemmed, finely diced

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 to 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (or water or dry red or white wine)

Pinch smoked paprika, turmeric, or hot Madras curry powder (optional)

1 mini brie wheel or wedge of brie (7 to 9 ounces)

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

Place tomatoes in an ovenproof dish or skillet large enough to hold the tomatoes and the brie, or a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Season tomatoes with a pinch of salt and some black pepper; drizzle with one to two teaspoons olive oil. Roast tomatoes 12 minutes, shaking pan occasionally for even cooking.

While tomatoes are roasting, heat one tablespoon oil and one tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat until melted. Add onion, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Let cook, stirring occasionally, five to seven minutes. Reduce heat to medium if onions are browning too quickly. After five minutes, add one tablespoon water or dry wine, stir and let cook another minute. Add apples and stir; add balsamic vinegar, and, if using, a pinch of smoked paprika, turmeric or hot Madras curry powder. Cook, stirring occasionally, another five to seven minutes and until onions are golden and caramelized. Remove pan from heat.

Remove some of the rind from top of brie, if desired. Remove tomatoes from oven and make room for brie. Place brie in skillet or on sheet pan and top with onion-apple mixture. Bake at 375 degrees five to 10 minutes, and until cheese starts to soften and slump and ooze a bit from the top and sides. Be careful not to overbake. Remove pan from oven and let sit five minutes before serving with crackers or crostini.