Cranberry brie bites made with puff pastry present a delightful harmony of flaky, buttery layers, complemented by the creamy richness of brie cheese. The tartness of the cranberry sauce beautifully cuts through the decadence, while candied walnuts add a sweet crunch, creating a symphony of flavors and textures in every bite.
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Table of Contents
- Sweet and Tart Cranberry Brie Bites
- How to Make Cheesy Tart Bites
- Tips and Tricks to Perfect Cranberry Cheese Bites
- What to Serve with Seasonal Tarts
- try making some of my other favorite recipes:
- Cranberry Brie Bites Recipe
Sweet and Tart Cranberry Brie Bites
Cranberry brie bites made with puff pastry are a scrumptious and elegant appetizer that combines a variety of textures and flavors to create a delightful culinary experience. The base of this delectable treat is a light and flaky puff pastry, which provides a buttery and crisp texture. This pastry envelops a generous slice of brie cheese, known for its creamy consistency and mild, nutty flavor. When baked, the brie becomes even more luscious, melting into a pool of gooey goodness that pairs perfectly with the layers of puff pastry.
To add a layer of complexity and a burst of flavor to the bites, a dollop of cranberry sauce is added on top of the brie. The cranberry sauce introduces a tart and fruity element to the dish, cutting through the richness of the cheese and balancing the overall flavor profile. For a final touch, candied walnuts are sprinkled on top, providing a sweet and crunchy contrast to the soft and savory components of the bite. Together, these ingredients create a harmonious blend of flavors and textures, making cranberry brie bites with puff pastry, brie cheese, cranberry sauce, and candied walnuts a delightful and sophisticated appetizer that is sure to impress at any gathering.
These are a favorite on my Thanksgiving and Christmas table!
How to Make Cheesy Tart Bites
First you will need to assemble the following ingredients:
- Puff pastry (3 sheets) – With its delicate, flaky layers, puff pastry provides a buttery and crisp foundation for these tart bites.
- Fresh cranberries (1 cup) – Tart and vibrant, fresh cranberries lend a burst of fruity acidity. Making fresh cranberry sauce sets off the bites.
- Orange juice (2 tbsp) – Fresh orange juice adds a sweet and tangy citrus flavor, enhancing the overall taste profile in the cranberry sauce.
- Sugar (? cup) – Sugar brings sweetness and balance, working to mellow out the tartness of fruits like cranberries and amplify the overall flavor.
- Orange zest (½ tsp) – The zest of an orange provides an aromatic and zesty kick, infusing recipes with a bright and citrusy note.
- Vanilla extract (½ tsp) – A splash of vanilla extract adds a warm, aromatic sweetness, contributing to the depth of flavor to the cranberry sauce.
- Cinnamon (1 stick) – cinnamon offers a sweet, warm spiciness, perfect for adding complexity and warmth, I like to use a whole cinnamon stick for a fresh flavor.
- Brie (8 ounces) – Brie cheese boasts a rich, creamy texture and a mild, nutty flavor, making it a luxurious addition.
- Egg Wash – an egg beaten with some water will help the puff pastry brown nicely.
- Candied pecans – Sweet, crunchy, and slightly spiced, candied pecans add a delightful textural contrast
After gathering your ingredients, we will use this method:
- Prep. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone nonstick baking sheet. Set aside.
- Make Cranberry Sauce. Add ? of the cranberries, water, orange juice, sugar, orange zest, vanilla extract, and cinnamon stick to a pot together. Set on medium heat and bring to a simmer. Let simmer until the cranberries have burst. Add the remaining cranberries (for texture) and simmer for about 10 minutes until thickened. Set aside to cool.
- Prep Tarts. Cut the puff pastry into squares. Use a knife, cut an L shape on the bottom and right hand side. Cut another upside down L shape on the other side of each piece. See process picture. Gently place the cut corner over the pastry so it rests on the opposite side. Do the same with the other side. This should have a boat-like effect where each tart now has an outer edge to hold the filling in. In a small bowl whisk the egg with about 1 tsp of water till frothy. Brush each pastry square with the egg wash.
- Assemble. Place a piece of brie into each tart square then add some cranberry on top of the cheese. Top with some crushed candied pecans.
- Bake. Place the tarts on the prepared baking sheet then bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove the tarts from the oven, some cheese may leak out during cooking which is fine. Place a whole candied pecan on each tart to garnish. Enjoy!
Tips and Tricks to Perfect Cranberry Cheese Bites
1. Choose Quality Ingredients:
- Puff Pastry: Opt for a high-quality, all-butter puff pastry for the best flavor and flakiness.
- Brie Cheese: Select a good-quality brie that is ripe and creamy. Ensure it’s well-chilled before cutting to make it easier to handle.
- Cranberry Sauce: Homemade cranberry sauce can offer a fresher and more vibrant flavor, but a good-quality store-bought variety works well too.
- Candied Walnuts: You can make your own or buy pre-candied walnuts. Ensure they are chopped into smaller pieces for easier eating.
2. Preparing the Puff Pastry:
- Thaw the puff pastry according to package instructions. It should be cold but pliable.
- Roll out the puff pastry slightly to smooth any creases and ensure an even thickness.
- Use a sharp knife or a cookie cutter to cut the pastry into squares or circles, depending on your preference.
3. Assembling with Precision:
- Place a small piece of brie in the center of each pastry cut-out. Ensure it’s not too big to prevent leaking during baking.
- Add a teaspoon of cranberry sauce on top of the brie. Be careful not to overfill.
- Sprinkle with chopped candied walnuts.
4. Sealing and Baking:
- Preheat your oven and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Fold the puff pastry over the filling to create your desired shape (squares, triangles, or parcels). Press the edges to seal.
- You can use a fork to crimp the edges for a decorative touch and to ensure a good seal.
- Bake until the pastry is golden brown and puffed up. The brie inside should be fully melted.
- Let the bites cool for a few minutes before serving, as the brie will be very hot and could cause burns.
- Serve on a platter with a side of extra cranberry sauce for dipping if desired.
6. Variations and Additions:
- Feel free to add fresh herbs like thyme or rosemary for an additional layer of flavor.
- A drizzle of honey before serving can add a lovely sweetness.
Yes, you can prepare the bites up to the point of baking, then cover and refrigerate them for a few hours until you’re ready to bake. You may need to add a few minutes to the baking time if you’re baking them straight from the refrigerator.
Yes, you can freeze the unbaked bites on a baking sheet until solid, then transfer them to a freezer-safe bag or container. You can bake them directly from frozen, adding a few minutes to the baking time.
For the best flavor and texture, use a high-quality, all-butter puff pastry. Avoid puff pastries made with shortening or other fats, as they won’t have the same rich flavor and flakiness.
While brie is traditional for this recipe, you could experiment with other creamy, melt-able cheeses like Camembert or a mild blue cheese.
Yes, feel free to add fresh herbs like rosemary or thyme for additional flavor. You could also add a drizzle of honey or a sprinkle of black pepper for a different twist.
These bites are best served warm from the oven, when the cheese is melted and gooey. You can serve them on their own or with additional cranberry sauce on the side for dipping.
Yes, making your own candied walnuts is quite simple and allows you to control the level of sweetness. There are many recipes available that involve coating the walnuts in a sugar mixture and baking them until caramelized.
To make this recipe gluten-free, you will need to use a gluten-free puff pastry. Ensure that all other ingredients, including the cranberry sauce and candied walnuts, are gluten-free as well.
Making this recipe vegan would require a few substitutions, including using a vegan puff pastry, a vegan cheese alternative, and ensuring that your cranberry sauce and candied walnuts are vegan-friendly.
What to Serve with Seasonal Tarts
Serving puff pastry bites filled with cranberry sauce, brie, and candied walnuts can be a delightful experience, especially when paired with the right accompaniments. Here are some suggestions to create a well-rounded and delicious spread:
Sparkling or White Wine. A glass of sparkling or a crisp white wine can complement the richness of the brie and the tartness of the cranberry sauce beautifully.
Light Salad. A fresh salad with arugula, spinach, or mixed greens tossed in a light vinaigrette can add a refreshing and slightly peppery contrast to the richness of the bites.
Fruit Platter. Fresh fruit like grapes, apple slices, and pear can offer a sweet and juicy element, enhancing the fruitiness of the cranberry sauce.
Assorted Crackers and Breads. Offer a variety of crackers and breads for guests to enjoy alongside the bites. Opt for milder flavors to avoid overwhelming the palate.
Nuts and Olives. A bowl of mixed nuts (aside from the candied walnuts) and a variety of olives can provide a savory and salty counterpoint.
Cheese Board. Extend the cheese offerings with a small cheese board, featuring different types of cheese, charcuterie, and perhaps some honey or fruit preserves.
Sparkling Cider or Non-Alcoholic Options. For those who prefer non-alcoholic beverages, a sparkling cider or flavored water can be a festive and refreshing choice.
Dips and Spreads. Consider serving additional dips and spreads, such as a fig jam, honey mustard, or a soft goat cheese spread.
Vegetable Crudites. A platter of raw, sliced vegetables with a light dip can add a crunchy and healthy element to your spread.
Desserts. Finish off with some light desserts, perhaps mini tartlets, macarons, or fresh berries with whipped cream.
Cranberry Brie Bites Recipe
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- 3 rectangular sheets puff pastry, thawed in refrigerator
- 1 cup fresh cranberries
- 6 tbsp water
- 2 tbsp fresh orange juice
- ⅓ cup sugar
- ½ tsp orange zest
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 1 stick of cinnamon
- 8 ounces of brie
- 1 egg beat with 1 tbsp water (for egg wash)
- ⅓ cup candied pecans (some crushed and some whole)
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone nonstick baking sheet. Set aside.
- Add ⅔ of the cranberries, water, orange juice, sugar, orange zest, vanilla extract, and cinnamon stick to a pot together. Set on medium heat and bring to a simmer.
- Let simmer until the cranberries have burst. Add the remaining cranberries (for texture) and simmer for about 10 minutes until thickened. Set aside to cool.
- Cut the puff pastry into squares. Use a knife, cut an L shape on the bottom and right hand side. Cut another upside down L shape on the other side of each piece. See process picture.
- Gently place the cut corner over the pastry so it rests on the opposite side. Do the same with the other side. This should have a boat-like effect where each tart now has an outer edge to hold the filling in.
- In a small bowl whisk the egg with about 1 tsp of water till frothy
- Brush each pastry square with the egg wash.
- Place a piece of brie into each tart square then add some cranberry on top of the cheese.
- Top with some crushed candied pecans.
- Place the tarts on the prepared baking sheet then bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.
- Remove the tarts from the oven, some cheese may leak out during cooking which is fine. Place a whole candied pecan on each tart to garnish. Enjoy
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Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving
Calories 300Total Fat 19gSaturated Fat 8gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 10gCholesterol 69mgSodium 308mgCarbohydrates 23gFiber 2gSugar 15gProtein 11g
Nutrition is automatically calculated by Nutritionix – please verify all nutrition information independently and consult with a doctor or nutritionist for any and all medical and diet advice.
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