Pumpkin Stuffed With Cheese – the Perfect Holiday Snack
I can’t turn down pumpkin holiday meals, regardless of the actual pumpkin content. Anything will do – pumpkin desserts, pumpkin beer, and even something shaped like a pumpkin. That’s why I was drawn to making this delicious baked pumpkin shaped brie from Taste of Home , which turned out to be so delicious.
Baked brie is a favorite holiday snack. A whole circle of brie cheese is wrapped in puff pastry and baked until it is fluffy and golden. (You can also bake a few wheels in a large old frying pan .) This is usually accompanied by an extra layer of sweet jam and crunchy nuts. The result is a liquid cheese bomb bonded to a layer of buttery dough. The pumpkin pie got my reptilian brain excited about holiday food, so I couldn’t resist.
After wrapping the cheese in the dough, you wrap it with kitchen twine at regular intervals and leave the twine for the duration of baking. The dough expands and the thread limits the expansion to thin strips. When the twine is removed, the shape resembles our favorite fall pumpkin. The clever wrapping technique is what I like the most, but it could be improved a bit. Use the method below to avoid the hiccups I experienced with the original.
Preheat oven to 400°F. Cut five pieces of meat string, each 15 to 18 inches long, and brush them with oil. This is an unconventional move, but trust me, you want to grease them. I didn’t do that in my test and it took me a hell of a lot of time to remove the line at the end. In the center of the tray lined with parchment paper, lay out the threads in the form of stars. All threads should intersect in the center. Start with an X shape and lay the next three pieces across so they are all the same distance apart.
Lay a sheet of thawed but chilled puff pastry on top of the threads. You will be able to see the impression of the strings underneath. Place a few tablespoons of jam, or nuts, or any other fun combination of treats you like on top of the puff pastry, right in the center. Place the brie wheel on top. I used Trader Joe’s pumpkin paste , chopped walnuts, and eight and a half ounce truffle brie.
Wrap the puff pastry tightly around the brie without stretching the dough. If at any point the dough becomes too soft, place the entire baking sheet in the freezer for four to five minutes to firm up. Trim off excess dough rather than clump it up. (Save the leftover puff for these recipes !) Pinch all seams.
Tie the opposite ends of the thread together. If you don’t understand which ends of the strings are attached, pull them slightly to see. Tie the pieces together at regular intervals so that they hug the dough tightly, but not so tightly that they cut into it. Use parchment paper to turn the entire brie over so that the knots are on the bottom. Brush the dough with egg wash and place it in a preheated 400°F oven for 25 minutes or so until it is completely risen and golden even on the areas where the egg wash has not been applied.
While the pumpkin-shaped cheese is still hot, cut the strings with a sharp knife and pull them out from under the dough. The rope may stick in some places, but the oil you put on it will keep it from sticking too much. Try to be gentle.
Make a small stem out of something in the shape of a stick and stick it into the top. I used a sage cinnamon stick, but you can use a pretzel stick, vegetable straw, celery stick, or bread stick. Whatever your flavor combinations, your pumpkin brie is sure to be a stellar snack. Serve hot.