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YIELDS:

6 servings

PREP TIME:

0 hours 25 mins

COOK TIME:

0 hours 5 mins

TOTAL TIME:

0 hours 30 mins

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ingredients

6 Mini Brie Bites
1 Egg, beaten with water
1/2 Cup Panko
Kosher salt
1/4 Canola Oil
1/4 Cup Tart Cherry Jam (Divina Sour Cherry Spread is great!)
1/4 Tsp. Calabrian chili flakes
Crackers and grapes to serve

INSTRUCTIONS

1) Set up a breading station: beat egg with a tablespoon of water in one bowl. Add panko breadcrumbs to a second bowl. Have a baking sheet covered in parchment paper ready.

2) Dip your mini brie rounds in the egg mixture, then into the panko. Repeat again so you have a double coating of crunchy breadcrumbs. Place the brie round on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with all of the cheese rounds.

3) Place the baking sheet in the freezer for 15-20 minutes to firm up.

4) Meanwhile, add the cherry jam, chili flakes and a pinch of salt to a small saucepan over a low heat on the stove. Stir. Let the jam melt into a pourable sauce. This only takes a couple of minutes so keep over a very low heat.

5) Heat the canola oil in a cast iron skillet until very hot. Place the chilled brie bites into the oil and pan fry until golden brown. Flip and cook on the other side until it is golden brown. Depending on how high the brie bites are, you may want to fry on the sides too. (this is completely optional) If you do want the sides crisped up too, just hold the brie bites with thongs and rotate in the oil until golden on all sides. The whole process of frying the brie should take under five minutes.

6) Drain the brie on paper towel lined plate. Sprinkle with salt as soon as it comes out of the oil.

7) Plate one or two brie bites on a plate (if plating individual servings) and top with some sauce. You can also plate them all on a platter to allow guests to help themselves.  I like to serve these with crackers or toasted baguette slices, grapes and/or apple slices.  Enjoy!

NOTES:  If you haven’t tried fried brie, you are in for a treat.  Frying up brie in a double coating of breadcrumbs gives you a super crispy exterior and a warm, gooey interior.  It is everything you want in a couple of bites.  Topped with the sweet, tangy and slightly spicy cherry jam, these dissappear every time I serve them.

There are a couple of pointers to make sure these come out right every time.

1)  Make sure you double dip the brie bites in the egg and panko mixtures.  This gives it an extra strong crust that helps the cheese from oozing out during the fry.  FYI:  even if it does, don’t sweat it.  It adds to the charm of this appetizer and certainly doesn’t hurt the flavor.

2)  The freeze time is critical for keeping the little brie bites intact.  I usually allow for 20 minutes.  BTW, you can bag these in a freezer bag after they’ve chilled and have them ready to fry when you are ready.  Talk about an easy appetizer to pull together!  They’ll hold in the freezer for months.

3)  While I really like this Cherry jam, you could use any flavored jam or preserves that you like.  I’m also a big fan of fig preserves.  A sprinkle of chopped nuts on top wouldn’t hurt either.

4)  Make sure your oil is very hot and ready for frying.  If not, the cheese just sits in the oil and soaks up too much.  And, because it will take longer to fry, is more prone to “leak”.  So, be sure that oil is hot and ready to fry for the best results.

5)  Drain the fried cheese rounds on paper towel for just a couple of seconds and sprinkle with salt as soon as they come out of the oil.  That will remove the excess fat and get them ready for that delectable sauce.

And there you have it, a fast and easy appetizer that you can prep a month in advance for parties and celebrations all holiday season.  If you like brie cheese (and who doesn’t?), check out these recipes:  Baked Brie with Walnuts, Brown Sugar, Honey & Momofuku and my Mini Brie Bites.

Looking for other holiday appetizer recipes?  Here are some of my favorites. 

Steak Crostini

Herbed Goat Cheese, Mushroom and Apple Bruschetta

Holiday Meatballs

Goat Cheese, Pistachiois & Hot Raspberry Preserves

Smashed Loaded Potatoes

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