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Bake Brie with pastry, pecans for season's feasts

Pecans are among my family’s holiday staples, touted with sweet potatoes in my latest podcast.

And I wouldn’t turn down a bite of Brie no matter how many celebratory foods awaited sampling. So why not gild the lily and situate Brie firmly in the next six weeks of feasting?

This easy, crowd-pleasing appetizer sweetens a puff pastry-wrapped wheel of Brie with a dusting of brown sugar. It fits into one of the season’s most rewarding genres: items that can be prepared ahead of time and stashed in the freezer for quick potluck and cocktail party fare. There’s no better accompaniment, of course, than the Rogue Valley’s prized Comice pears, always a favorite.

Baked Brie

1/2 cup pecan halves

3 tablespoons brown sugar

1/2 package (1 piece) frozen puff pastry, thawed

1 (8-ounce) round of Brie

1 large egg yolk

2 tablespoons heavy cream

In a small bowl, combine the pecans and sugar, using your fingers to thoroughly mix; set aside. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat; set aside.

Lightly dust work surface with flour. Cut the piece of puff pastry in half and place on work surface, 1 piece directly on top of the other. Using a rolling pin, adhere 2 pieces of puff pastry together. Continue rolling puff pastry until it is very thin, slightly less than 1/8 inch thick.

Place the Brie in center of puff pastry. Top Brie with pecan mixture, spreading to within 1/2 inch of edges of cheese. Be sure to remove any sugar or nuts from puff pastry, as they may cause holes to form during baking. Fold puff pastry up and over Brie to enclose. Use a sharp knife or clean scissors to trim excess pastry, reserving scraps. Transfer Brie to prepared baking sheet.

In a small bowl, combine the egg yolk and cream to make an egg wash. Cut reserved scraps of puff pastry to make decorative shapes. Using a pastry brush, gently brush decorative shapes with egg wash and adhere to wrapped Brie. Brush wrapped Brie evenly with egg wash. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours and up to overnight.

Preheat oven to 400 F. Bake Brie in preheated oven until golden brown and puffed, for about 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 F and bake until dark golden brown, for 10 to 15 minutes more. Serve with sliced baguette, crackers or fruit.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Adapted by Tribune News Service from a recipe by Martha Stewart.

Tribune News Service photo