Recipe Review

This Gooey Caramelized Onion Baked Brie Has French Onion Soup Vibes

published Dec 8, 2022
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baked brie on plate with bread and crackers
Credit: Photo: Chris Simpson; Food Styling: Jessie YuChen

I’m always interested to see how Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen upgrades a classic recipe. Her blueberry muffins, which boast double the usual amount of berries, are my forever favorite. The addition of pickled celery in her egg salad recipe is ingenious. And once you try her brown butter Rice Krispies treats, there’s no going back.

So when I came across her baked Brie recipe and read the words, “This is baked Brie, my way,” I couldn’t wait to see what that entailed. Instead of the classic puff pastry, Deb opts for a simple homemade galette dough, which she says is “a million times better.” She also replaces the usual fruity jam or compote with sweet-sour red onions that have been cooked down in butter. As a final flourish, Deb sprinkles the wrapped Brie with sesame seeds before sending it to the oven. 

Would Deb’s twist on classic baked Brie become my new favorite version? I tried it to find out. 

How to Make Smitten Kitchen’s Baked Brie

You’ll begin by making the pastry. Whisk together flour, sugar, and salt; work in cold butter with your fingertips; then add sour cream and water and stir until large clumps form (it will be reminiscent of pie dough). Wrap the dough in parchment, flatten into a disk, then chill until firm. 

Next, cook the onions. Melt butter in a large skillet, add thinly sliced red onion, and cook until softened. Add brown sugar, salt, balsamic vinegar, and black pepper and cook until the balsamic reduces (this whole process takes about 10 minutes). 

Heat the oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll the chilled dough into a 10-inch circle on a floured surface. Spread Dijon mustard on top, followed by half the onions and minced fresh thyme. Place the Brie in the center, then cover with more Dijon, onions, and thyme. Wrap the dough around the Brie, transfer the whole thing to the baking sheet, and brush with egg wash. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and bake until golden-brown. Let rest for 10 minutes, then serve with crackers or baguette slices. 

Credit: Photo: Chris Simpson; Food Styling: Jessie YuChen

My Honest Review of Smitten Kitchen’s Baked Brie

Smitten Kitchen recipes are always comforting with a hint of elegance — and that’s exactly how I would describe this recipe. The onions smelled incredible as they cooked, and I was tempted to eat them all straight from the pan. Spreading the Brie with Dijon and sprinkling everything with fresh thyme made the whole thing feel fancy, like I was preparing the dish for guests in a French châteaux. 

Because the galette dough is rolled into a circle, it’s also much easier to wrap around the Brie than a rectangular sheet of puff pastry is. You simply bring up the sides to the center of the Brie and press the edges together to seal, creating the cutest little package. In the comments section, Deb also mentions that you can chill the wrapped Brie until you’re ready to bake it, making this a great make-ahead appetizer.

Once you do finally serve it, get ready for oohs and aahs. Cutting into the golden, sesame seed-studded pastry gives way to the most deliciously oozy mess of cheese, thyme, and slinky onions. One bite had me swooning: The dough is flaky and buttery, the mustard adds tang, and the combination of cheese and onions (especially when enjoyed with a slice of baguette) gives the whole thing French onion soup vibes. 

It is worth noting that between making the dough, sautéeing the onions, and mincing the thyme, this baked Brie is much more labor-intensive than most. And while I thoroughly enjoyed the pastry, I wouldn’t say it’s that much better than store-bought puff pastry, especially all-butter brands like DuFour. If you have the time to spend on this recipe, you certainly won’t regret it, but it won’t always be the best option during the busy holiday season. 

If You’re Making Smitten Kitchen’s Baked Brie, a Few Tips 

  1. Freeze the dough if you’re short on time (or skip it altogether). After mixing together the dough, it needs to chill for one to two hours in the fridge. If you’re short on time, Deb says you can freeze it for 20 minutes. Alternatively, follow this recipe but use store-bought puff pastry instead. It will still be fabulous! 
  2. Make the caramelized onions throughout the holiday season. The rich, jammy sweet-sour onions deserve to be enjoyed beyond baked Brie. Add them to savory tarts, pile them onto ricotta toast, stir them into pasta dishes, or use them to make a dip. The possibilities are endless. 

Overall rating: 9/10