So for my birthday lunch I met up with my friend A. We went to Purple. Curiosity was getting to me to see if they were back on their game. I am happy to report they were. I had the scallops that did not look cremated this time as well as the baked goats cheese topped with honey and dried cherries. Yum.
One of the appetizers I do eat their often was luckily featured in a fabulous cookbook called Pacific Northwest Wining and Dining: The People, Places, Food, and Drink of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and British Columbia(by Braiden Rex-Johnson). I got to review this book for a magazine and I can not say enough great things about it. If you are a wine and food lover this cookbook is for you. The contributers for this book are all from local wineries, restaurants and chefs in the Pacific Northwest. Not only do they contribute a recipe but they suggest the wine to go with it as well. Takes the hard work away from you for trying to guess! If you don’t own it…go get it.
Purple Cafe and Wine Bar was one of those contributers, giving their recipe for Baked Brie with Candied Walnuts and Caramelized Onions. I must say it does taste just as yummy as the version I get in the restaurant, so this is a true restaurant recreation.

 

Baked Brie with Candied Walnuts and Caramelized Onions

serves 2 to 4 as an appetizer

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 small white or yellow onion, very thinly sliced
pinch kosher salt
4 sheets phyllo dough
6 tablespoons clarified butter, melted
one 4-to-8 ounce wheel of ripe Brie cheese
1 ½ to 2 tablespoons apricot jam, or orange marmalade(note: stir or whisk jam/marmalade until is loosens enough to spread)
3 to 4 tablespoons Candied Walnuts(recipe follows)
Fresh fruit of your choice, such as red grapes, apple slices, or pear slices
Baguette slices or crackers

Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. When oil is hot, add the onion and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are tender and golden., 25 to 30 minutes; adjust the heat if necessary so the onions don’t brown too quickly or burn. Set aside.
While the onions are cooking, arrange the oven rack in the center of the oven. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray or line with parchment paper.
 Lay the phyllo dough on a clean, damp kitchen towel on a dry work surface and cover with another damp kitchen towel. Lay a sheet of dough on the baking sheet. Brush the dough lightly with melted butter. Place a second piece of dough across the first piece of dough to form a cross shape and brush lightly with butter. Place a third piece of dough diagonally over the cross and brush lightly with butter. Place the fourth piece of dough diagonally over the third piece of dough(to form a “x” shape) and brush lightly with butter.
Cut the Brie horizontally through the middle to form a top and bottom layer.
Place the bottom layer of brie in the center of the phyllo dough.
Brush with the apricot glaze, and arrange 2 to 3 tablespoons of the reserved onions and the Candied Walnuts evenly over the glaze. Cover with the top layer of brie.
 Form a beggar’s purse by gathering all eight ends of the phyllo dough, bringing them together over the top of the brie, and pinching them together until the brie is totally encased in dough. Brush lightly with butter, place the phyllo package in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to 1 hour before proceeding to the next step.
Preheat the oven to 450F.
Cover loosely with aluminum foil and place in the oven for 5 minutes.
Remove the foil and continue baking for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the phyllo turns golden in color.
Remove from the oven and transfer to a serving plate. Arrange the fresh fruit and baguette slices around the brie and serve immediately.

Candied Walnuts

1 large egg white
1 cup whole walnuts
 ¼ cup sugar
2 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
 ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 300F.
For easy clean up, line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
In a small mixing bowl, whisk the egg white until light and frothy.
Add the walnuts and mix well. Sprinkle the nuts with granulated sugar and brown sugar, add the vanilla, and stir until the walnuts are evenly coated with sugar.
Arrange the walnuts in a single layer on the baking sheet with out crowding and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and stir the nuts.
Continue cooking, stirring the nuts every 5 minutes, for a total of 25 to 30 minutes of cooking time, or until the walnuts not longer look moist and are medium caramel in color.
Remove from the oven and transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack.
When cool enough to handle, break apart the nuts, then dry completely on the baking sheet on the wire rack. Store in an air tight container at room temperature until serving.

Adpated from Pacific Northwest Wining and Dining: The People, Places, Food, and Drink of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and British Columbia by Braiden Rex-Johnson.

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