Once Women Hit Forty…

“Once women hit forty, they only have four taste buds left: one for vodka, one for wine, one for cheese and one for chocolate.”- Gina Barreca

A few weeks back I had a really bright idea. I thought I could invite a few of my lovely co-workers over and we could do blind taste testing of a variety of wines. The plan had been to each bring a bottle, we would cover the label and each sip on a glass, one at a time discussing the merits and highlights of each while enjoying the company. I figured it would be an entertaining evening that could have the potential to introduce us all to a couple new go-to wines. Sounds fantastic right?

Boy, was I wrong. What was soon to ensue did have a lot of enjoyable company and lots of entertainment but the wine tasting? Well that idea disappeared as soon at the first cork was popped. The merits were long forgotten, the body of the wine was ignored and our wine glasses were just replenished with whatever was open. We ate good food, enjoyed good wine (I think!) and had a wonderful time. After all of the wine was gone, each of us crawled into bed at my place buzzing from a lovely evening with friends and ignoring the fact that we all had to be to work for 7:30 for a full day of education. I wouldn’t have traded it for the world, it turned out better than anticipated!

For the evening of “wine tasting” (a verrrrry loose term in this instance) I decided I was going to bake a brie. I used to do this a lot and I had forgotten about how delicious it really is. The thing about baking brie is you can make it your own- filling options are endless. You could use pepper jelly or a really nice raspberry jam on top. Cinnamon and sugar is always simple and delicious, you can even toss on any fruit you have kicking around in your fridge. There is no wrong choice and it ALWAYS turns out tasty- it’s brie baked in pastry, how could it not?! It is also extremely simple and takes under five minutes to prep which is probably why I was on such a kick a few years ago. Instructions can be found below! Happy wine drinking (and tasting if you decide to take your time) all!

Baked Brie (with cranberries and pecans)

You will need:

  • A sheet of puff pastry or phylo (I prefer puff and both can be picked up in the frozen section at the grocery store for under $3)
  • A medium wheel of brie (14-16 oz.)
  • A handful of pecans (chopped a little)
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup of brown sugar
  • 1 heaping teaspoon of cinnamon
  • One egg
  • Sliced apples and /or crackers for serving

About 20 minutes before you plan on whipping up your baked brie, remove one sheet of puff pastry from the freezer (there are usually two sheets packaged separately) and allow to thaw on your counter.  Once thawed, unroll onto lightly floured surface and place brie directly in the middle of the square of pastry. I scrape the rind off the top of the brie myself but that is optional. Combine brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and pile on the top of the brie. Top that with a mixture of cranberries and pecans. Once your brie is piled high with toppings, bring the corners of the pastry up to the centre of the brie and fold up the sides gently pressing edges of pastry together. Beat egg and use small amount as a wash over the top of your little package; this will help it to brown up! Place on non-stick pan and bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until pastry is golden brown. Remove from oven and let sit for a minimum of five minutes (if not, it will pour out like lava and be really hard to eat when you cut it!). Serve with a apple slices and crackers!

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