Baked Brie with Apricot Jam
Do you ever get the mean reds? Ugh I do and, after Tiffany's of course, the next best cure (or coping mechanism) for me is cheese and wine. Malheureusement, I don't do the fête du fromage anymore.... Just kidding! I eat cheese all the time! VEGAN CHEESE THAT IS! Now I know you are thinking "um but that's not real cheese" or "you poor deprived soul" or "EEEEEWWWYY". But frankly my dear I just don't give a damn. Good vegan cheese is simply good cheese. Vegan cheeses have an incredible awry of textures and tastes to meet every preference and lifestyle. I absolutely love making grilled cheese sandwiches with Fieldroast's new Chao Original slices. They melt so well and have a taste similar to conventional American cheese. Even my non-vegan husband sneaks my Chao slices. Trust me. I keep count. Too fancy for the sliced stuff? Well there are TONS of fantastic gourmet vegan cheese recipes and companies out there for you to choose from. Each cheese has it's own unique flavor and honestly should be appreciated for it's own delectable beauty and not for an imitation. I discovered this vegan brie recipe from Peace Love Vegan Food (their recipe was adapted from Miyoko Schinner). I had been searching for a vegan brie recipe for a while after my best friend Valentina created this gorgeous baked brie post. She was of course very sad that I couldn't join in her brie festivities, so me being me I decided to veganize her recipe and break brie bread with her that way. This nut cheese is honestly fairly simple and ohmysweetbabyjesus does it taste good! Even the non-vegans were licking the pans and plates after they had this stuff! This texture is soft and spreadable, but becomes a nice gooey consistency after being baked. My biggest regret about this cheese is not eating it slower.... So be warned..... Savor every bite...
1 cup of cashews soaked for a minimum of 3 hours. I soaked one batch of cashews over night and the other for just 3 hours and both came out fine
1 cup of water
1/2 cup of unsweetened coconut yogurt
1/2 cup of refined liquid coconut oil. If your coconut oil is solid just put it in the microwave for 30 seconds to a minute
1 tsp nutritional yeast
1 1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp tapioca starch
1 tsp agar agar powder (if you are using the flakes you need to use more)
Half of a batch of dough from my Vegan Croissant Recipe or use Pillsbury's Original Crescent Roll dough (yes it's vegan!)
1/2 cup - 1 cup of apricot jelly, or whatever flavored jam you prefer
1/2 cup of flour
1. Blend cashews, water, coconut yogurt, coconut oil, nutritional yeast and salt for 2-3 minutes or until smooth in a blender or food processor.
2. Pour cashew mixture into a large bowl and cover with a towel. Allow it to stand at room temperature for 24-36 hours.
3. Pour mixture into a medium pot or saucepan and whisk in tapioca starch and agar agar. Continue to whisk the mixture over medium heat until it becomes thick and very difficult to stir and begins to slightly pull away from the edges of the pan.
4. Line a springform pan with a damp cheesecloth. You can either line one 16 in pan or pour the mix into several smaller springform pans to make multiple wheels. Pour mixture evenly in pans and drope any excess cheesecloth over the cheese to cover it. **If you choose to line small pans you can make several wheels of cheese and roll them in different herbs or toppings if that's your thing. For this recipe I myself poured my mixture equally into four 4 inch springform pans.
5. Allow cheese wheel(s) to chill in the refrigerator for 4 hours
6. After four hours remove the cheese from the refrigerator and pull it out from the pan either by opening the springform pan or gently lifting it up by the cheesecloth. Remove the cheesecloth from the cheese and allow it to rests on a cutting board for 12-24 hours open to the air and at room temperature. Once 12-24 hours have past flip the cheese over onto the other side and allow it to rest again for a minimum of 12 hours.
1. Preheat oven to 375 and lightly sprinkle a flat surface with flour and roll your dough (even the Pillsbury one) into a ball.
2. Roll the ball out in a circle until you have one large enough to cover your cheese. You dough should not be any thicker than 1/4 in otherwise it will not bake all the way through.
3. The size of your cheese will determine how your pastry will be filled. If you just chose to do a single 16 in wheel than plop it down over your dough, spread some apricot jelly over it and pull up the dough so that it comes up over the sides of the wheel and frames the cheese (pro tip: use toothpicks to hold your dough in place at the top). If you chose to do multiple smaller wheels place you first wheel on the dough and spread jelly over the top. Then stack a second wheel on top of that one and line it with jelly again. Pull the dough up and cover the sides of your cheese and secure with toothpicks.
4. Bake pastry for 20-25 minutes. As the dough begins to expand you might start to notice little pockets of empty space between the bread and the cheese. You can easily fill these spaces with extra jelly after it's been removed from the oven so don't freak out!
This pastry can be served in small slices like a cake or it can be devoured in one go with a fork. Either way I won't be judging you. This pastry also pairs nicely with Riesling. My personal favorite variety is by Yalumba and you can find it at World Market :)