Michael and I hosted family at our house and I served this appetizer, which went over really well. The original dish called for cranberry sauce, but I don’t love cranberries*. I talked a lot about cranberries with my friend Jennie this past week (we have a podcast in development; not really) and we came to the conclusion that I mostly like cranberries when in juice form paired with vodka. So, I needed to find a cran-alternative. I had some concerns, though that this tart would not be as visually striking without the pop of red. When I decided to make this with applesauce, I knew I needed to jazz up the color. I made a batch of my Roasted Vanilla Applesauce with sweet satsuma oranges and added a handful of red apple peels to the pot. As the fruit roasted, the peels imparted a beautiful pink hue.
Friends, underneath the applesauce is a layer of Brie.
This is really uncomplicated to make and I think it would be terrific with the cranberry relish, if you’re a cran-fan. I’m planning to try this again with a thick jam or preserve – I think plum or blackberry or fig would all be really nice. This would be gorgeous in the Summer with fresh blueberry compote. So many flavors pair well with Brie – you can really use your imagination here. It’s perfect for Thanksgiving because you’re probably making pie crust anyway and you can bake it in the morning before you roast the turkey. It’s not intended to be served piping hot – you want it to set for a bit and cool a little before you serve it to your guests. You could definitely serve this as a brunch item or at a cocktail party with something bubbly to cut the richness of the Brie.
*Of course there is generally an exception to every rule and in this case, I do love this Wensleydale Cranberry cheese. It’s mild and sweet and I look forward to it every year – you should be able to find it at Whole Foods.
Brie and Applesauce Tart
Adapted from Baker Bettie
9″ Round Tart or 4″x13″ Rectangular Tart
Martha’s pâte brisée, 1 discFor Assembly
1 1/2 cups Roasted Vanilla Applesauce
8 oz double creme brie
½ cup chopped pecans, toasted
Fresh thyme sprigs
Decorative pie crust pieces (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface to about ¼” thick and press into tart shell and trim the edges.
Line the tart with parchment paper and fill with pie weights, dry beans or rice. Bake for 20-25 minutes until browned and well set.
If you’d like, use the extra scraps of pastry to cut decorative pieces of pie dough for a garnish. Brush the pieces with an egg wash (egg white and water) and bake at 350 degrees until lightly browned, about 10 minutes.
Cut the brie into thin slices and lay them evenly into the tart shell. I did not cut the rind off the cheese.
Spread the applesauce evenly over the brie. The applesauce should be fairly thick, so if yours is runny, you may want to let it sit in a strainer over some cheesecloth for a bit.
Bake the tart at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, until the brie is melted and the applesauce is heated through. I wanted my applesauce to shine so I brushed the top with an apricot glaze.
You can prepare this the morning of and then let the tart sit at room temperature.
Remove the tart from the tin and top with chopped pecans, decorative pie pieces and fresh thyme. I added a few pomegranate seeds for good measure.