Brandy Soaked Apricot & Brie Stacks with Spiced Honey

If you are like me you are probably right now in the midst of scouring the internet and your favorite cookbooks and magazines for the perfect recipes for this year’s feast.  Maybe you need a quick and easy appetizer for before the main event that looks like you spent a whole lot more time and effort on it that you really did?  With all the cooking you have to do for Thanksgiving who has time for appetizers? That’s what makes this little bite perfect. It’s gooey, crunchy, salty, with a hint of sweet and looks gorgeous.  Best part is it takes only a few minutes to make.  The puff pastry cups can be cooked earlier in the day and then filled just before serving. And by soaking the apricots in brandy and making a spiced honey instead of plain honey you really get some amazing flavors coming through.  Garam Masala is a spice blend that is found often in Indian cooking and is available in most grocery stores.  If you can’t find that then you could use a little all spice instead, but I definitely recommend trying the Garam Masala with cayenne.  

And here’s a holiday confession for you.  I ate almost the whole test batch. Way to kick off the holiday season in moderation. Ha!  Well….there’s always next year.

  1. Combine the chopped apricots or figs with the brandy and let sit for at least 30 minutes at room temperature, until the brandy is mostly absorbed.
  2. In a small glass bowl add the honey, Garam Masala, cayenne, lemon zest and juice, and a pinch of sea salt. Whisk to combine. Set aside.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Gently stuff each shell with about 2 teaspoons of brie.  It’s easier if you cut it into smaller chunk. Top with a little of the brandied apricots.  Warm in the oven for 4-5 minutes or until just warmed.   Do not over cook or the brie will melt out of the shell.
  4. Slightly warm the honey mixture in the microwave for 20 seconds.  If you heat it too long it will be runny.
  5. Remove the apricot brie stacks from the oven and top with chopped pistachios and a tiny drizzle of the spiced honey over the tops.  Drizzle more honey around the plate.  Do not add too much honey to the apricot brie stacks or it could end up too sweet.  If guests like the sweetness they can add more from the drizzles on the plate or you can opt to serve remaining spiced honey on the side in a ramekin or small dish.
½ package of puff pastry cups cooked according to the package (Cooks Note: use the egg wash mixture in the cooking process. Once cooled gently cut around the center line and remove the center to prepare for the filling.)

1/2 cup finely chopped dried apricots or dried figs 

3 Tablespoons brandy

3 Tablespoons honey

¼ teaspoon Garam Masala

¼ teaspoon Cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon Lemon zest and 2 teaspoons lemon juice

Small pinch of sea salt

¼ cup chopped pistachios

1/3 lb double cream Brie (rind removed if preferred)

Makes 24 mini shells

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