Keep in mind that these tips are from my own experience. I’m not a party organizer, nor am I a sommelier or a turophile (a cheese connoisseur). I just love cheese, wine and spending time with my friends.
Brie is known to be one of the world’s great cheeses, and perhaps this is due to its taste and its simple versatility.
Brie’s mild, creamy flavour lends itself to every palate, whether you’re a cheese connoisseur or a neophyte.
Brie can be eaten on its own — uncooked or baked. No matter how you plan to serve it, the Brie must be brought to room temperature for the best flavour or baked into melty gooeyness before eating. This allows the true flavours and richness of the cheese to shine through and bring the cheese to its optimal level of “ooziness.”
It is delicious baked in the oven, with or without a pastry coating, or drizzled with honey, taking it neatly with a slice of apple. It makes for a simple, elegant appetizer alongside crackers and jam or jelly.
If you’re finding yourself in a bit of a rut, try elevating your sandwich with Brie cheese, a welcome addition to a turkey or ham sandwich on a baguette. Or using it as an ingredient in a recipe is entirely your call—a lunchtime staple with endless combinations.
Unlike other rinds, the white mouldy Brie rind is edible and is usually eaten along with the softer interior. If you do not want to eat the rind, it is easy to trim from a refrigerated Brie, or bring the cheese to room temperature, slice off the top and scoop out the soft centre with a spoon.
Champagne pairs particularly well with Brie cheese.
If necessary, Camembert may be substituted for Brie in equal measures. Be aware that the Camembert will be stronger in aroma and flavour than the Brie.
When to serve?
Traditionally, the French give the cheese its own dedicated course at a meal, served just before dessert. However, serving cheese at a party or for an appetizer is widely accepted (and with good reason). Don’t hesitate to open your gathering, dinner party, or snack session with delectable Brie.
This is one of the most popular ways to serve and enjoy Brie. What better to pair with Brie than more cheese? We recommend having an odd number of cheeses on a cheese plate for aesthetic purposes.
When preparing a cheese board, the main rule of thumb is to arrange them according to flavour, from the mildest to the strongest. The mildest cheese will almost always be the Brie unless you are using goat cheese. You will also want to make sure that you place each cheese’s corresponding accompaniment near the cheese on the board. It will ensure a fantastic taste experience.
If serving a wheel, slice one or two (but no more, because the cheese will dry out) small wedges ahead of time. This will give your guests an idea of an appropriate serving size. It may also relieve anyone who feels intimidated to make the first cut! Set the wheel or wedge on a tray with a knife and your accompaniments of choice.
If serving a wedge, don’t cut off the tip of the cheese, which is often the most flavourful part. Instead, cut along the side of the wedge. This will ensure everyone gets to try each part of the cheese.
When planning to serve Brie, to get the best bite, take it out of the refrigerator for about an hour (at least 30 minutes if you forgot) before eating. This will allow the cheese reaches room temperature and gives the cheese time for the enzymes to regenerate, reaching its fullest flavour and irresistibly creamiest texture.
Cutting the Brie
Brie is easier to slice at room temperature, so take it out of the fridge fifteen minutes before you plan on cutting it.
Presentation is vital, so before you decorate your spread, you’ll first want to cut the Brie on a different surface.
Bread or Crackers
The French will traditionally serve Brie with baguette or another crusty bread that won’t compete with the cheese. Plain crackers are another convenient choice that won’t detract from the cheese. This is NOT the time to pull out the nacho chips.
Pairing Brie with something acidic will bring out its velvety texture – try fruits like apples, grapes, or pears, or sweet and zippy sides like jam or honey. Try earthy nuts like unsalted pecans or candied walnuts, or lay out a charcuterie alongside cheese options if the occasion calls for something more substantial.
Beyond these basic ideas for pairing, the options are endless. To keep exploring for inspiration, check the Fast2eat Complete Guide to Plan an Unforgettable Wine & Cheese Party to enhance any occasion or gathering.
Can you eat Brie rind?
Yes! We recommend enjoying the cheese with its rind to appreciate the subtle nuances in its flavour. It is a nice textural part of the experience, so leave that lovely, edible rind on! It enhances its flavour over time, adding a bloomy and earthy complement to the paste’s mild taste.
Some folks might prefer to eat the inside of the Brie cheese because it’s a bit milder, but you can eat the entire wheel of Brie, rind, and all! In fact, it is considered gauche by some to merely scrape the inside of the cheese and avoid the rind. Again, go ahead and set an example for guests if they are confused.
And it’s the best part, in my humble opinion. It’s got the most delicious tangy flavour, and I love the way its texture compliments the creamy Brie.
Do you take the rind off before baking?
Keep the rind on, as it will help the cheese hold its shape, so it doesn’t all melt out. The rind is also edible, so you can enjoy it with the melted cheese or remove the top layer after baking and dunk it in crusty bread like a fondue.
What is this white rind?
That characteristic “bloomy” rind comes from Penicillium candidum, which is a white mould covering that defines soft-ripened cheeses like Brie.
Baked Brie is a soft, warm, melty, and delicious way to enjoy this cheese. It can be baked as is or with toppings or wrapped in puff pastry (Brie en Croute) or phyllo dough.
Make an indulgent dip in Brie for an instant fondue
The main trick here is to bake the Brie to the point that it is gooey but not completely melted so that it can hold its form.
Remove from the oven, cut a large cross through the top of the cheese, then peel back the rind.
Arrange sliced baguette or crackers or apple slices around the Brie and serve while warm.
Scatter over chopped herbs and serve with pitta crisps or breadsticks for dunking.
Top it with all the optional goodies you like. See variations for inspiration.
Bake a wheel into Phyllo, puff pastry, Crescent roll dough, pie dough, a loaf of bread
Try wrapping the Brie in a puff pastry if you really want to wow the crowd.
Baked Brie is a delicious and indulgent treat that can be dressed as a sweet appetizer or a savoury entrée. If it couldn’t get any better, you can also melt Brie in pastry. This method is called Brie En Croute.
Simply wrap the pastry around the wheel and bake until golden brown.
Brie and puff pastry make a formidable duo all on their own, but you can up the ante by topping the wheel of Brie with many delicious ingredients before wrapping it in pastry. See variations for inspiration.
For a detailed guide on baking Brie and all the ways to prepare it, check out our Wrapped baked Brie recipe.
Pastry Choices for Baked Brie
Traditionally puff pastry surrounds Brie in recipes like this, but you can also use layered, phyllo dough sheets, crescent roll dough, or pie dough.
Homemade or store-bought dough?
Like me, many home cooks choose to buy frozen sheets at the grocery store instead of making phyllo dough or puff pastry from scratch. However, you can use homemade puff pastry for this.
Phyllo vs. Puff Pastry: What’s the Difference?
Phyllo dough and puff pastry dough are both used to create baked goods, from sweet desserts to savoury tarts and pastries. They have similar uses, but they’re not the same thing.
The main differences between the two doughs are the preparation method and fat content.
Phyllo is super thin and a lighter version, ideal for those on a diet who do not want to overdo it. Its use consists of mixing a layer of the sheets and brushing it with fat – butter, oil or olive oil.
The puff pastry, when baked, creates “layers” and is full of fat. A caloric bomb for you who don’t want to go off the diet, I don’t recommend it, but if you’re the type that doesn’t care about it, feel free to use it.
Due to the significant differences in thickness, their ingredients, and how they’re made, they will not give you the same outcome.
While the Phyllo requires more care, the puff pastry is theoretically simpler to handle, but its flavour and textures are heavier, with a fattier and buttery flavour, while Phyllo is lighter and more delicate.
Both are found in grocery stores and sold frozen.
Phyllo is a paper-thin dough made with oil instead of butter. The delicate sheets are brushed with butter or olive oil, then layered and baked.
Making homemade phyllo is a labour of love, as it takes time and skill to roll and stretch the dough into large sheets. The unleavened dough is traditionally made with just flour, water, and a small amount of oil. The origins of phyllo are unclear, but it’s common in Middle Eastern and Balkan cuisines. Phyllo is particularly common in Greece, an essential ingredient in baklava and spanakopita.
Puff pastry (a descendant of phyllo dough)
Puff pastry is often associated with French cuisine. It likely originated in 16th-century Spain.
Puff pastry is a light and flaky laminated pastry, which means butter is folded into a lean dough (a dough that contains no fat) multiple times to create alternating layers of butter and dough. When baked, the moisture in the ingredients steams and separates the dough layers. This results in lots of thin layers and an airy texture.
Crescent roll dough
Crescent roll dough is a little sweeter than puff pastry. If you go with the crescent roll dough, look for dough sheets that don’t have perforations. If you can’t find the sheets, you’ll need to press together the perforations.
Fold the crescent rolls over the top of the Brie.
How to work with Phyllo Dough
Phyllo pastry may be intimidating to some people, but I find it is pretty easy to work with. Just follow those tips:
Phyllo should be used at room temperature and handled with care, as it breaks easily.
Thaw the phyllo dough in advance, in its package, either in the fridge overnight or for about 12-14 hours, or on the counter for an hour or so.
Attention: Never thaw it in the microwave.
When thawing, do not remove the phyllo from the package.
As it dries out easily, you should always keep the part that is not being used covered with a damp clean dishtowel.
The biggest secret to working with phyllo dough is, while assembling, to set the phyllo sheets between two very lightly damp towels (kitchen towels or paper towels). This will keep them moist and prevent them from breaking as you work to assemble the pie. As you use it, make sure to put the kitchen towel back on top.
Important: do not soak the towel; just lightly dampen it. I just spray it.
If phyllo sheets tear? Be gentle when handling it but do not panic if your dough tears. A few of mine ripped, and it is okay. You can still layer the torn sheet as best as you can. It will not matter at all once all the layers are assembled. It is no worry because the sheets will meld together when baking. I want to take care of only the last sheet, the outside one. This is the one I would like for it to be one piece and not torn.
If the edges get dry? Do not fret. It does not matter unless you are making phyllo rolls or cigars. Just take the sheets and brush with the olive oil and butter mixture. That is why I usually like to brush the edges nicely and generously, more than in the centre.
Olive oil and melted butter
Do not skip on “buttering” the phyllo layers. For maximum flavour and so that it cooks to a beautiful golden brown, make sure you brush a generous amount of the olive oil & butter mixture so that each layer is well soaked.
If you want, you can brush with a little more moderation to make this healthier.
If you want to stay on the healthy side, you can always adjust the mixture to have more olive oil than butter. I like using a higher proportion of olive oil to butter to brush the phyllo sheets.
I have had a good experience using just olive oil to coat phyllo dough, like in this Spanakopita (Greek Spinach Pie with Feta Cheese) Fast2eat and this Egyptian Goulash (Phyllo sausage & cheese Pie).
Working with puff pastry
To ensure a light and flaky texture, make sure the dough is cold to ensure the pockets of fat are still intact and not melted into the next layer.
When rolling out, use gentle pressure. Don’t push down too hard, or the layers meld together and become dense.
Puff pastry dough is easier to make than phyllo, but it can still be a laborious task. Making homemade puff pastry can be a practice in patience, as it requires many trips to the fridge to keep the dough cold and allow the gluten to build.
If you haven’t used store-bought puff pastry before, it is a dream! It is located in the freezer section of your grocery store and is wonderfully easy to work with.
Note: While most baked Brie recipes call for wrapping one large sheet of puff pastry around the cheese, resulting in a thick and doughy bottom layer that doesn’t cook through, if you sandwich the Brie between two smaller pieces of phyllo pastry and crimp the edges with a fork. This seals in the cheese and creates even top and bottom layers, which puff up and form a flaky, golden crust.
A super-duper easy appetizer that doesn’t disappoint in the flavour department.
So easy to make. So very, very tasty to eat.
Try these unique little cups as an appetizer before a special meal, or save them for a surprisingly different dinner finale. They’re sweet & savoury, creamy and crunchy—and very addictive!
They’re soooo simple. It’s also soooo yummy and perfect for a quick last-minute appetizer.
Check the recipe here.
Of course, we can’t talk about bread and crackers without touching on pizza. A weekend staple, pizza is one of those foods you can’t get tired of – there are endless variations from toppings to sauces and cheeses. If you’re looking for an easy and elevated dinner idea for a date night-in, Brie, sweet pear, savoury prosciutto, and briny black olives make a gourmet Pizza for a sophisticated take on classic pizza flavours.
Try Brie with mushrooms, rosemary and olive oil on your next pizza night for an herby twist on a classic dish.
It’s no doubt that this cheese is absolutely delicious with beef. In fact, you can think of adding Brie to your meat entrée, almost like incorporating the butter. Brie’s mildness is an ideal canvas for the smoky, salty and savoury flavour profile of meats. The creamy texture holds the marinades while complementing the meats’ briny texture for a delicate yet complicated combination.
Try this Filet mignon (Beef tenderloin) with Brie.
Sandwiches & wraps
Serve as sandwiches and wraps meals.
- Combine Brie, caramelized onions and apricot preserves, and bake in a panini.
- Brie pairs well with tart cranberries and delicately sliced turkey, honey mustard enhances sweetness, and romaine lettuce adds a crunch stuffed inside a delicious whole-wheat tortilla.
- Create a French-influenced lunch sandwich by warming your baguette slices in the oven. Bake for ten minutes to get the bread toast. Then add the cut cheese to make a gooey sandwich, add your favourite ham and top with arugula; you can also add halved cherry tomatoes or a balsamic glaze for extra flavour.
Brie is a classic cheese with a rich texture and history to match! It’s sure to add an indulgent and sophisticated touch to any meal, cheese board or snack without being too overpowering. Once you know how to eat Brie, there are endless options for using its creamy, desirable flavour. Go ahead and try Brie in new ways and be sure to share your creations with us by tagging @fast2eatca on Instagram.
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Check out what I’ve been busy cooking!
exquisite Filet mignon (Beef tenderloin) steak with Brie dish in less time than it takes to order a pizza. The brie melts all over the top of the steak giving it a creamy sauce that’s simply divine.
Want More? Check Out My Cookbooks!
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