Back at the beginning of December I did a post about brie, in which I spoke nostalgically of a restaurant in Camden, ME and then showed you how I made a rather odd-looking version of brie en croute.
It looked like this:
Kind of like I'd encased a dead bird in puff pastry.
It tasted great and all, but the appearance left something to be desired.
The very next day, I received an email from a Casey Ibbetson about this very post. It read, in part:
I saw your creative use of brie in your 12/3 post and wanted to pass along some details about a new type of brie with a new innovative shape that might be easier to wrap dough around!? There are a few things that evoke feelings of celebration and luxury such as champagne, truffles and brie – and now there is a new element of convenience for busy hosts looking to add a touch of elegance to their event. Thanks to the long shape of the new Président Log, serving this treat is much easier. Slices of the Brie Log fit perfectly on a cracker — and its thin edible rind only adds to its rich, creamy deliciousness.
Below I've included a few enticing recipes that are sure to spark creativity for any holiday menu. If you’re interested, I’d like to send you a sample of this new Brie Log – all I’d need is your mailing address and I can ship the brie to you priority overnight!
Attached to the email were roughly a thousand pictures of slices of this President Brie Log on a cracker with a variety of toppings, and the corresponding recipes, so I could make them in my very own home.
At first I thought – my brie thing was so pathetic that someone associated with a brie distributor actually felt sorry for me and wrote to offer help. "Your creative use of brie" was just a kind way of saying "that scary thing you actually showed to your readers." I laughed and sobbed at the same time. (Okay, not really about the sobbing part.)
After that moment had passed, and I had looked at some of the photos of brie slices on crackers, I thought – well hey, FREE CHEESE! Why not?
And so I sent off my mailing address and looked forward to a log of brie in the near future.
Before that arrived, however, I felt, perhaps, the need to prove that I could make a brie look pretty all on my own. So I bought a small wheel of brie and wrapped it up and from that came this post.
Much nicer than the dead bird en croute from the week before, right?
The next day, I received a large box with large splashes of tape on it that read "FRAGILE" (must be Italian!) and "PERISHABLE!" Woo hoo! My cheese had arrived! And in such a large box! How much cheese did they send???!!!
Salivating, I grabbed a utility knife and slashed through the packing tape.
First, amid the bubble wrap, I encountered a handwritten note:
Enclosed please find a President Brie Log and a little something extra for you to enjoy with it.
I dug further, and found a small blue lunch bag sort of thing, which, when I unzipped it, contained a couple of ice packs and the much anticipated Brie Log.
And then there was another container. Red, kind of suede-ish, and zippered.
The "something extra!" Christmas had come a couple of weeks early!
And so I unzipped it.
And lo - more goodies!
Stonewall Kitchen Black Cherry Jam!
Little napkins! A corkscrew/bottle opener thingy! And a pair of plastic go-anywhere wine glasses!
All I could think was "You forgot to send the bottle of wine, Vicky!" I JEST!!!!
I was thoroughly delighted. So was my husband, but in a manly way, of course, not in the giggly, squealing girly way I was. Okay, I'm not really giggly or squealy either.
I was, all kidding aside, very pleased and impressed. I figured I'd just get a sample of the President Brie Log and that would be it – which was fine – like I've said – FREE CHEESE! But no – they went that extra step and sent me the not only additional edibles to go with the cheese, but something lasting as well. Now, okay, I know it's all part of marketing and all that. But still – it's nice.
So before I go any further, I want to thank Casey Ibbetson at SHIFT Communications and Vicky at Pollock Communications, and the folk at Président Cheese, and anyone else involved behind the scenes for this lovely package of goodies. Thank you!
And now, onto what I wound up creating.
First of all, I was a bit tired of the sweet + brie combo. I wanted something purely savory. So did Bill. So I went with one of my favorite savory flavory things – caramelized onions.
I cut up a couple of onions, softened them in some butter, and let them cook a while. I drizzled a little balsamic vinegar on them near the end of the cooking, once they were soft and brown and intoxicating.
I let them cool while I got the sheet of puff pastry dough ready…
And when the onions were room temperature, I spread them out on the dough in a layer…
placed the Président Log at one end…
and carefully rolled it up, like you would with cinnamon buns or the like.
Now, if I had been making this for a party or something, I'd have made it prettier. I had actually imagined making little leaves and vines and flowers out of puff pastry dough, to twine over and around the log. But since it was just for Bill and me, and I didn't actually have another sheet of puff pastry dough, I didn't go that route. Next time.
But anyway. I put the wrapped log in the fridge for about half an hour to chill the dough. I preheated the oven to 425 degrees F, and then popped the log (on a parchment lined sheet pan) into the oven and baked it for about 25 minutes.
Also next time, when I'm in a mood to be fancy, I'll paint it with egg wash, which will give it more color and shine.
But anyway. It smelled FABULOUS. I held Bill off with one hand and sliced the lovely package open with one swift slash of my knife:
The brie didn't ooze out, it poured out. Very hot and melty and surrounded by soft, sweet onions.
Bill grabbed the board with the brie away from me and raced down the stairs. Laughing.
Okay, no, that didn't happen. But I took just a few shots and then put my camera away, grabbed the box of Carr's crackers and that was the end of gazing longingly at melty cheese and crispy pastry.
It tasted very, very good.
I recommend the grilled onions/brie flavor combination, if you're looking for something without a fruit element.
And the Président Log itself? I think it's a lovely idea. My only complaint would be the diameter. It's maybe an inch and a quarter to an inch and a half in diameter, I think (I didn't measure it – sorry), and, greedy cheese-glutton that I am, I'd have liked a wider circle. But that's greed and gluttony talking, so feel free to disregard.
By the way, it's not all that difficult to make your own puff pastry dough. Here's a recipe for you.