Usually I bring some Spam musubi, they are easy to make and everyone love them. I have a very picky coworker, and she carefully dissects them to avoid the seaweed, but she still told me "I love the SPAM!"
The problem with Spam musubi is that you need to have rice, and time to fry up the Spam. I know you can make them in advance and nuke them in the microwave just prior (Mr. Mochi loves when I give him refrigerated leftover musubi for his work lunch) but it's just not the same. The nori gets soggy and the Spam loses its crispness. And I never seem to have the wherewithal to make rice ahead of time, so lots of times I am standing over my rice cooker grinding my teeth waiting for the rice to be done.
Enter brie en croute. Fast, easy, and impressive looking. You can even make it ahead, and cook it just prior to jumping in your car. Since it's baked, you can run around putting on your makeup or feeding the dog while it's cooking. The best part is you're supposed to wait at least 30 minutes before cutting into it, so it seems to be designed to take in the car!
Plus it's undeniably delicious, and slices of it reheat well in the microwave. I'm not above bringing a slice into work the next day. Not to mention if you have suspicious coworkers who might not be adventurous enough to try hapa food. This is French and very safe :)
True to form, I brought this in to work with me. I was silly and forgot about needing to wait to cut into it, and ended up snapping the cut shots at work!
Now you can make just a plain brie en croute, but I love adding preserves, fruits, and nuts to the top. This recipe is more of an example to give you an idea of toppings. At the end, I'll have some suggestions for more!
Rosemary Apricot and Pecan Brie En Croute
1 sheet puff pastry (Pepperidge Farm or your favorite)
|Place the fruit and nut mix in the center of the pastry|
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup honey
|Use a cookie cutter or knife to cut out shapes|
1/3 cup dried apricots
1 13.2 ounce Brie round
2 Tbs of dried cherries or cranberries
|I did a clover shave since St. Patty's is coming!|
To make ahead, do not decorate and wrap the brie up in saran wrap and you can freeze it for up to a week, or put in the fridge. When you do bake it, thaw if necessary in the fridge overnight, then follow the rest of the instructions below.
If you're baking the brie right now, preheat the oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit. Flip the brie over (seam side down) and put on an ungreased baking sheet. Brush the egg wash all over the brie, and add scraps of dough cut into shapes on top of the brie if you want, for decoration. Brush those too with egg wash. Bake for 25 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown. Let sit at least 30 minutes to an hour, otherwise the brie will still be too soft and will ooze all over the place when you cut it. You can serve with crackers to mop up any oozy brie.
Other brie en croute ideas:
- mushrooms, scallions, parsley, or roasted garlic
- preserves and nuts, dried fruits soaked in Grand Marnier
- brown sugar, pecans, and bourbon
- apples and cinnamon sugar
- sun-dried tomatoes
Any other ideas?