During my fourteen years of being sans meat, I’ve found that when you ask vegetarians “Why aren’t you a vegan?” their response is either “too expensive” or “cheese.” In order to help my comrades–in–vegetables out, I’m scouring the internet for the cheesiest meat-free recipes around. Join me on my journey to recreate the best, and learn the history of our favorite cheese while we’re at it.
Missed last week’s recipe? Discover the magic of mozzarella bombs!
This week, we are diving into the very fancy and mostly French world of Brie.
Brie de Meaux was first made in the Brie region of France, about 60 miles from Paris. The exact year is unknown, but there is mention of the cheese in Roman history. During the 18th century, Louis XVI apparently asked for a bite of the soft cheese as his dying wish. Later, French statesman Talleyrand, popularized the cheese by serving it at a dinner for diplomats.
Brie, like Camembert and St. Agur, is a bloomy-rind cheese. All of these soft cheeses are made with a mold which results in their silky, soft rinds that are completely edible. They ripen from the outside in, meaning they can be a little harder to test for freshness than others if you are making your own. To check if the wheel has aged to perfection, a little bending needs to take place. If the cheese has some give, it’s ready for tasting.
If you aren’t down for cheesemaking and plan to buy some from your local grocer, you should know that the real stuff only exists in France. In fact, to use the official name “Brie,” it has to be made in Île-de-France with raw milk, meaning that it can’t even really be sold in the US due to raw milk regulations. Domestic makers, then, are not really making Brie but brie-style cheeses—which can be incredibly delicious!
If you want to impress your guests and save time on prepping an appetizer, this dish is perfect for you. If apples and brown sugar aren’t your thing, cranberry sauce, honey, figs, almonds, or maple syrup can be subbed for the topping.
- 8-ounce wheel Brie cheese
- 8-ounce can refrigerated crescent rolls
- ½ Macintosh apple, thinly sliced
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 1 egg, beaten
- Lay crescent dough flat across a greased cookie sheet. Break into two pieces. Pinch any open holes together.
- Place entire brie on top of half-sheet of rolls, and top with sliced apple and brown sugar. Place other half of dough on top of cheese and pinch to seal edges, shaping the dough around the wheel.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until dough is flaky and light brown, and serve.