Thursday, January 01, 2009

Apple Brie Flatbread

Earlier this year I had the good fortune to attend a drug rep dinner being hosted at a local up-scale restaurant that I had never been to. The food was amazing! But the item that I came away thinking, "I have got to figure out how to make THAT" was the Apple Brie Flatbread. It was a crispy, almost cracker flatbread topped with apples, brie, nuts, carmelized onion/shallot, and balsamic vinegar reduction. YUMMY!!!

It was actually a lot easier than I thought it would be. The hardest part was figuring out a bread recipe. I have a fantastic bread machine book that I got from Borders (a very dangerous place for me!). If you love bread, get this book! The recipes will work great as hand-mades too. I often just make the dough with the machine and bake the bread in my oven. That is the case with the flatbread I made for these appetizers.

There are a lot of flat breads in the book, but I chose Carta di Musica as it seemed the closest to that nearly-cracker flatbread.
  • 1-1/4 cups water
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1-1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar (I actually used 1 TBS C&H dark brown sugar, cuz that's what I like!)
  • 1 tsp yeast
Put it in the bread machine in this order and run it through the dough cycle. Take the dough out and cover with a piece of plastic wrap while you work. Break off a small piece, about the size of a walnut. Roll out the piece to as thin as you can get it. It helps to keep the dough from sticking if you ocassionally oil the rolling pin. As you finish rolling each piece, place it in a stack under a piece of plastic wrap to keep them from drying out.

Once you have enough rolled to fill a cookie sheet, place them on the pre-heated sheet and bake them in the oven at 450F for 10-15 minutes. For this recipe, you will want to take them out while they are still light as they will go back into the oven for a second baking.

The topping is fairly self explanatory: apples, brie, nuts, carmelized onion/shallot, and balsamic vinegar reduction.
  • The apples can be any kind. I like to use sweet, crisp apples like my current fav -- Honeygold.
  • I love Joan of Arc brie, unfortunately my grocer has been having trouble getting it so I picked up some Delice de France. I liked this very much as well. It is different in that it is stronger, but it is delicious!
  • The nuts could be walnuts, pecans, hazelnut, almost any nut -- I LOVE pecans, so that's what I used.
  • My son does not like onions, so I skipped the carmelized onion/shallot part. It is very good though, so you might want to try it yourself. I recommend using either shallots or very sweet, mild onions like Vidalia. Slice them thinly and cook over medium low heat until carmelized.
  • I used about 6oz of balsamic vinegar. It needs to be reduced to something resembling molasses by heating it over low heat for about half hour. DO NOT LET IT BURN!
Thinly slice or dice the apples and brie and place desired amounts of each on the flatbread pieces. Sprinkle with chopped nuts. Drizzle the balsamic vinegar reduction over the topped flatbreads (if you accidentally reduced it too much to drizzle, just add a little water or more balsamic vinegar). Place in the oven until the brie is melted.

OMG!! THESE ARE DELICIUOS!! They were so great, I didn't even get a chance to take a picture before half of them were devoured by onlookers at our New Year Eve party! These are best fresh from the oven, but can be re-heated in the microwave or eaten cold as well.

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