Appetizers

Apple Brie Bites

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Apple Brie Bites (4)

When I was asked by Martin’s to pull together a recipe to feature a new apple, the Crimson Crisp, I knew immediately which one I’d use. I had made this easy, yet eye-catching recipe for a potluck after our church’s Thanksgiving hike, using pears instead of apples. I knew the Crimson Crisp would be stunning with its bright red skin and the crisp, creamy tartness would contrast nicely with the Brie cheese and red pepper jelly. And lastly, but certainly not least; they would be perfect for a special Valentine’s appetizer!

Because the Crimson Crisp is more tart than the pears were, I decided to offset the tanginess with a drizzle of honey. You can add the honey before or after baking. I added it before, which created the sweet little scorchy bits you see. I rather liked that; I think it gives the bites character; but if you don’t, simply drizzle the honey on the pan after baking.

After baking them, I took them in to Martin’s for the final test to see if they passed muster, and they did! In fact, they passed muster repeatedly…and repeatedly. But the taste muster passed only after Sary Oung Phoulivang took all the photos she wanted. As you can see, she took some gorgeous shots!

Apple Brie Bites (2)

If you have never worked with phyllo pastry, here’s your chance. It’s not difficult. The pastry is fragile, yes, but if you handle it carefully two sheets at a time, it’s not hard to do. The instructions say to apply one sheet at a time, but I’ve used two together and it works well. It’s very forgiving; just make sure you don’t have the tears repeatedly at the same place on the pan. Be sure to keep the unused pastry covered with a damp tea towel while working.

Apple Brie Bites Ingredients
Here are the ingredients you need

 

Prepare the Brie cheese and slice the apple. I sliced it with the slicer, then cut each slice into three or four thinner slices.

Prepare the pastry and layer the toppings.

 

Apple Brie Bites
Top with red pepper jelly or a spiced apple jelly.

 

Apple Brie Bites (8)
Eat and see if it passes muster with you.

 

As usual, this post is sponsored by Martin’s Family Fruit Farm, but the words written are my own. 

The Crimson Crisp is a pretty new apple, great for baking and eating out of hand if you like a tart apple. Its firm, crunchy flesh is creamy in colour, and the skin is a brilliant red. It stores very well in the refrigerator. 

Apple Brie Bites

Ingredients

Apple Brie Bites (3)

  • 8 phyllo pastry sheets
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 large Crimson Crisp or other tart apple
  • 1 6″ Brie cheese
  • 2 – 3 Tablespoons honey
  • red pepper or spiced apple jelly

Directions

Preheat oven to 375° F (190 C). Brush a thin coating of melted butter in the bottom of a 10″ by 15″ or 11″ by 17″ cookie sheet. Carefully unroll and separate two sheets of phyllo pastry from the package. Lay the two sheets in the pan, folding edges under to fit. Brush with another thin layer of butter. Repeat three more times until the 8 pastry sheets are used up. Cover the unused phyllo sheets with a damp tea towel until they’re done. Refrigerate or freeze the remaining sheets. Or make two pans right away!

Cut the Brie in half, then cut off the rounded edge on one side. Slice each half into twenty-four 1/4 inch thick slices. Wash, core and slice the apple into 8 wedges, then cut each wedge into at least 3 slices. Lay the Brie on top of the pastry in rows at least 2 inches apart. Lay the apple slices on top of the Brie. You should have three rows with eight slices in each row. Drizzle with honey if you want to bake it on the apples. Bake for 18 minutes until the pastry is browning. 

Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before cutting into 24 rectangles with a rotary pizza cutter. Dollop a 1/2 teaspoon of jelly on top of each slice.

 

Fresh Cranberry Apple Dip

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Fresh Cranberry Apple Dip
Fresh Cranberry Apple Dip on Cream Cheese
A few weeks ago, I was asked by our head marketing guy, Peter, if I could develop a recipe that would feature our Martin’s Apple Chips. That sounded like an enticing proposition, so I started researching recipes. For weeks, images of apple chips danced in my head, spinning and twirling, accompanying granola (somebody beat me to that one), on top of pork loin (I’m definitely going to play with that idea. I love pork loin, and it’s so easy to dress it up. Don’t you agree that our chips would be great with pork loin?), and with cheese (cheese, yes, of course!)

Since our Canadian Thanksgiving is just around the corner and our US friends are looking forward to celebrating it next month, my thoughts kept veering towards a party food. Plus, Christmas is coming! We had just toured Johnston’s Cranberry Marsh a month ago, we grow apples here, and we sell Bright’s Cheese. That’s a pretty good local trio right there. And so this Fresh Cranberry Apple Dip came into being.

It’s a sweet and savoury, slightly spicy dip with two options for serving it; over cream cheese, or as a salsa with feta cheese stirred in. The day I made it, I took both versions in to our offices and the retail store staff to get a consensus on the favourite. Well. The favourite split cleanly down the middle, with nearly all of the samplers saying they like both. And wow, did the apple chips ever bring it to life! We tried both the original and cinnamon chips, and the simplicity of the original definitely showcased the dip best.

Fresh Cranberry Apple Dip with Feta
Fresh Cranberry Apple Dip with Feta
So…I’m happy to feature both variations. I used fresh cranberries, but frozen would work just as well. I buy a big bag from Martin’s and keep them in my freezer all year because I never know when a craving for cranberries will strike. I used four types of peppers to add a bit of heat and spicy flavour, and you’ll never believe this, cilantro. Yeah, you heard me. What can I say? I had a weak moment; I actually felt it would enhance the flavour. I was right, too.

One more, because it’s so pretty and our photographer, Sary, took such beautiful photos…

Fresh Cranberry Apple Dip with Martin's Apple Chips
Fresh Cranberry Apple Dip with Martin’s Apple Chips
Cranberries are grown on very low bushes in northern climates. The fields they grow in are called bogs or marshes. In order to harvest them more easily, the bogs are flooded so that the plants and berries lift. Then they are raked off and sorted. I learned that a properly ripe cranberry will bounce; if it doesn’t it will be rejected. They can be stored in the fridge for about 2 weeks, then they should be frozen.

We begin harvesting early apples at the end of August, and continue until the end of October. We are in the ‘eye’ of the apple harvest storm from the middle of September until the end of October. For a fun little infomercial on our apple harvest, watch this. To see the apple chip process and our own personal bee, click here, then click the arrow in the centre of the page.

Fresh Cranberry Apple Dip

Ingredients

Fresh Cranberry Apple Dip with Martin's Apple Chips
Fresh Cranberry Apple Dip with Martin’s Apple Chips
  • 12 oz. bag (3 cups) fresh or frozen cranberries
  • ½ of a medium crunchy apple (Honeycrisp, Ambrosia or Gala are great in this!)
  • ¼ cup finely chopped green onions
  • 2-3 tablespoons finely chopped jalapeno pepper
  • 2 tablespoons minced cilantro or parsley
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon or lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle powder or flakes
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup pure maple syrup

 

  • 2 250gr. bricks of cream cheese or ½ cup feta cheese

 

Directions

Coarsely chop fresh or frozen cranberries (no need to thaw the frozen berries). Finely dice washed and cored apple, green onions, and jalapenos. If you like lots of heat, leave seeds and membranes in the jalapeno; if not, remove them. Combine all of these fresh ingredients in a medium bowl. Add the remaining ingredients except the cheese and stir together lightly. Cover and refrigerate at least one hour, and up to twelve hours. Drain thoroughly, place two bricks of cream cheese on plates and top with the drained topping. Serve with assorted dippers, including our very own Martin’s Apple Chips!

Variation: Instead of using cream cheese, stir ½ cup of crumbled feta cheese into the drained topping and serve as a salsa. Or do one of each, cutting back to one brick of cream cheese and ¼ cup of feta.