We don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day in this household as both John and I fall firmly on the cynics side of the great V-Day debate, that this is a day primarily orchestrated for the benefit of the card, chocolates, and flowers industry. But if you choose to celebrate by making a lovey-dovey meal for your significant other, the least I can do is help you out in your endeavor to be a cheese ball. 🙂 In this case, why not start your meal off with this cheesy (in a good way), heart-shaped appetizer.
The concept: combine palmiers, those delicious, buttery, heart-shaped cookies, with another favorite puff pastry treat– baked brie. I was inspired after watching Ina Garten make savory palmiers by spreading pesto, goat cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, and pine nuts on a sheet of thawed puff pastry. Charged with making appetizers for my parents’ Christmas Eve dinner, I made one batch of Ina’s savory palmiers, and one batch that would allow me to use her technique but express my creativity. I love baked brie, what with its melty goodness, complemented by sweet, sticky jam and toasty nuts, and thought that maybe this might be a cute way to make bite sized pieces of it.
You can vary the flavor of jam or kinds of nuts used according to your tastes, but in my case, I had a long forgotten jar of homemade ginger pear preserves on hand and some toasted walnut pieces leftover in my freezer. To help out, I’ve put other spread ideas in the Note below. These were easy to assemble, quick to bake and best of all, pretty to look at (although as usual, my photography skills don’t really demonstrate that with the picture below), and best of all, delicious to taste. Frankly, I can’t think of a better way to show the ones you love that you care than with the gift of cheese.
- 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
- 2 cups jam of your choice
- .6 lb wedge brie, sliced 1/8 inch thick into rectangles
- 2 tablespoons toasted, chopped walnuts
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the sheet of puff pastry until it measures 9.5 by 11 inches. Turn the pastry sheet so that the short end is facing you. Remove the metal lid from your jar jam or place jam in a microwave safe bowl and microwave on high for 20 seconds or until slightly runny. Spread the jam over the sheet from end to end. Lay the slices of brie in 4 vertical rows then sprinkle with toasted, chopped nuts. Lift up the left side and fold it about 1/4 of the way to the center, repeating with the right-hand side. Repeat the folds again so that they almost meet in the center then take the right side and fold it up and over the left hand side so that you have a long cylinder, pressing lightly to seal together. Cover with plastic wrap, then place the rolled up cylinder on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and chill in your refrigerator for 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Remove chilled cylinder from the refrigerator and using a serrated blade, cut the cylinder into 1/2 inch thick rounds. Place the slices about 2 inches apart on the parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake for 14-18 minutes or until pastry is golden brown. Serve while still warm.