I was introduced to this recipe at a cooking class I took at the Boston Center for Adult Education. Chef Lars, one of my favorite instructors there, made these in a more more bite size portion. I like them sightly bigger as a full appetizer size and I like to add a little salt to bring out the sweetness of the apricots and marmalade. This recipe is perfect for entertaining. It’s easy, can be prepped ahead of time, and can be finished with minimal effort when guests arrive. Perfect for the upcoming holiday and entertaining season.
1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
2 tablespoons brandy
1/2 cup apricot marmalade
a dash salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
juice of half a lemon
1/2 pound brie
8-10 slices of pumpernickel bread
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Add the brandy and chopped apricots to a small sauce pan and set aside for an hour or longer. After the apricots have soaked with the brandy, add the marmalade, red pepper flakes, and salt and set over medium heat. Stir until the marmalade has loosened. Add the lemon juice and toasted sliced almonds and cook for about 1 - 2 minutes stirring continuously.
While the apricots are soaking in the brandy, trim the crust off the pumpernickel bread, cut each slice into thirds, and set on a cookie sheet. Lightly toast in the oven, flipping after a few minutes in order to evenly toast each side. While the bread is in the oven slice the brie into thin slices about the length of the pieces of bread. Remove the bread from the oven and top with a slice of brie. Return to the oven until the brie is mostly melted. Remove from the oven and add a little of the apricot mixture to the top and return to the oven for about a minute. Serve warm.
If you’ll be entertaining, many of these steps can be done ahead of time. The apricot mixture can be made and set aside, my only suggestion is adding the almonds as the last minute so that they stay crunchy. The brie can be sliced and set on parchment paper so that it doesn’t stick together. The bread and be sliced and toasted and set aside. Once your guests arrive, top the bread with brie, place in the oven, and follow the remaining steps from above.