In a Pinch



One of my fondest food memories of the holiday seasons is the big bowl of roasted nuts that would be put onto the family table along with a variety of fruits after every meal. We even had a nut bowl that had special slots to hold two nutcrackers and nut-meat picks. Mom would roast a variety of nuts including walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, pecans and Brazil nuts.

One year, my great-aunt, Jenny, sent us a huge cardboard box of pecans from her home in Albany, Ga. They were the biggest, plumpest, meatiest pecans I had ever eaten, and my grandmother took care to squirrel away the box on the top shelf of the hall closet so there would still be some left for my mother to use in her holiday baking.

One night, when we thought Gram was upstairs, we snuck the box down and began to have a nut feast at the kitchen table. She burst into the room with a scowl and scooped up the box declaring, “Nobody eats these unless I say so. I’m the boss of the nuts!” This struck us kids as so funny that we laughed ourselves sick, and even Gram ended up with a smile. It became a standing family line.

I still associate the taste of roasted nuts with good times and family fun. Around the holidays when people are apt to drop over for a quick visit or a special meal, I always like to keep a good supply of nuts and cheese so we can whip up a quick snack or appetizer that looks and tastes much more elaborate than it is.

You can experiment with different combinations of cheese, nuts and preserves, but it’s hard to beat the classic trio of toasted almonds and orange marmalade on brie cheese baked in a crusty puff pastry. I always add extra almonds because now I’m the boss of the nuts!
 


Photo by Laura Petrilla

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Baked Brie

  • 1 sheet puff pastry
  • 4 tablespoons orange marmalade
  • 4 tablespoons sliced, toasted almonds
  • One 8-ounce brie wheel
  • 1 egg, beaten

Lay out the pastry sheet onto a lightly floured board. Roll and trim the sheet until it measures approximately 10 inches by 10 inches. Place the marmalade into the center of the square. Sprinkle the almonds on top. Carefully place the wheel of brie on top of the nuts and almonds.
Fold up the corners and sides and pinch together to seal completely. Trim excess pastry. Turn the package seam-side down on a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet. Roll out the extra pastry and use decorative cutters to make leaves or other shapes.

Brush the top and sides of the pastry dough with beaten egg and place the decorative pieces on top. Brush again with beaten egg. Bake at 350 degrees until the pastry has puffed and turned golden, approximately 30 minutes. Let cool a few minutes before serving with crackers.

Two variations to try: apricot jam with toasted hazelnuts; raspberry jam with walnuts.
 

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Top 10 Things to Do in Pittsburgh in December

Top 10 Things to Do in Pittsburgh in December

This month's best bets in The 'Burgh.
50+ Things That Will Make You Enjoy Winter in Pittsburgh

50+ Things That Will Make You Enjoy Winter in Pittsburgh

Love it or hate it, winter is upon us. Because some of us may think there's a lot not to like, we bring you 50+ things to eat, drink and do –– and some helpful tips –– that'll keep the blues at bay.
Excellence in Nursing: Meet Our 2016 Honorees

Excellence in Nursing: Meet Our 2016 Honorees

Pittsburgh Magazine presents the honorees from its inaugural Excellence in Nursing awards. Meet our judges' choices and learn what makes them remarkable in their field.
Choreographed Style: Winter Fashion with The Pittsburgh Ballet

Choreographed Style: Winter Fashion with The Pittsburgh Ballet

A regal ruggedness characterizes the season's menswear looks.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

The Mosaic Stairway: You've Never Seen Steps Like These

The Mosaic Stairway: You've Never Seen Steps Like These

When viewed from the foot of the South Side Slopes of Pittsburgh, the stairs ascending Josephine Street form a massive image that consists of more than 7,500 individual mosaic tiles.
Joe Manganiello Plays the Good Guy for Children’s Hospital

Joe Manganiello Plays the Good Guy for Children’s Hospital

The actor, director and Mt. Lebanon native is joining the board of trustees of the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation.
Pittsburgh Man Sets World Record By Lifting 1 Million Pounds

Pittsburgh Man Sets World Record By Lifting 1 Million Pounds

Matt Scoletti accomplishes the feat in just under nine hours.
Why Thanksgiving Comes Every Day for 3 Pittsburgh-Area Men

Why Thanksgiving Comes Every Day for 3 Pittsburgh-Area Men

They owe their lives to one man who lives on in each of them.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Top 10 Things to Do in Pittsburgh in December

Top 10 Things to Do in Pittsburgh in December

This month's best bets in The 'Burgh.
50+ Things That Will Make You Enjoy Winter in Pittsburgh

50+ Things That Will Make You Enjoy Winter in Pittsburgh

Love it or hate it, winter is upon us. Because some of us may think there's a lot not to like, we bring you 50+ things to eat, drink and do –– and some helpful tips –– that'll keep the blues at bay.
Excellence in Nursing: Meet Our 2016 Honorees

Excellence in Nursing: Meet Our 2016 Honorees

Pittsburgh Magazine presents the honorees from its inaugural Excellence in Nursing awards. Meet our judges' choices and learn what makes them remarkable in their field.
Choreographed Style: Winter Fashion with The Pittsburgh Ballet

Choreographed Style: Winter Fashion with The Pittsburgh Ballet

A regal ruggedness characterizes the season's menswear looks.
Restaurant Review: B52 in Lawrenceville is a Levantine Lifter

Restaurant Review: B52 in Lawrenceville is a Levantine Lifter

Omar Abuhejleh taps deep into his roots at his vegan cafe that's focused on Levantine cuisine.
Why You Can't Beat The Weather in Pittsburgh in The Winter

Why You Can't Beat The Weather in Pittsburgh in The Winter

I’ve traveled a lot of miles, and I still stare in bewilderment at people who tell me they’ve moved to a place because “You can’t beat the weather.”
Edit Module
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


The Mosaic Stairway: You've Never Seen Steps Like These

The Mosaic Stairway: You've Never Seen Steps Like These

When viewed from the foot of the South Side Slopes of Pittsburgh, the stairs ascending Josephine Street form a massive image that consists of more than 7,500 individual mosaic tiles.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
The Café Carnegie Now Open in Oakland

The Café Carnegie Now Open in Oakland

Chefs Sonja Finn and Becca Hegarty helm the refurbished restaurant at the Carnegie Museums.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
Best of the Burgh: Pumpkin Patches in the Pittsburgh Area

Best of the Burgh: Pumpkin Patches in the Pittsburgh Area

We’ve compiled the best pumpkin patches for fall family fun.

Comments


Why Wait For Summer? Head to Kennywood's Holiday Lights

Why Wait For Summer? Head to Kennywood's Holiday Lights

The park's winter celebration is great for families and a fine choice for anyone who loves Christmas (and/or funnel cake).

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Big Ten-Champion Nittany Lions More Worthy Than Buckeyes

Big Ten-Champion Nittany Lions More Worthy Than Buckeyes

For some reason Ohio State is ranked No. 2 in the latest playoff rankings and Penn State is No. 7. That has to change if Penn State beats Wisconsin on Saturday night.

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
Locket Full of Joy

Locket Full of Joy

The handcrafted piece opens to hidden treasures.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
Ten Upcoming Flicks Every Oscar-Watcher Should See

Ten Upcoming Flicks Every Oscar-Watcher Should See

PM film critic Sean Collier picks ten forthcoming flicks likely to rake in nominations for the 89th Academy Awards.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Thinking Small: Pittsburgh Weddings That Are Intimate Affairs

Thinking Small: Pittsburgh Weddings That Are Intimate Affairs

Bigger isn’t always better, at least when it comes to these couples’ wedding ceremonies.

Comments


The latest tips and trends to refresh your home.
Seasonal Shopping: CMOA Store Holiday House, J.Crew Mercantile Opens Doors

Seasonal Shopping: CMOA Store Holiday House, J.Crew Mercantile Opens Doors

The Carnegie Museum of Art is full of Christmas cheer — and great deals. Plus, get the scoop on The Block Northway’s latest retail offering.

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education
Classic Christmas Tale Gets a Twist at Slippery Rock University

Classic Christmas Tale Gets a Twist at Slippery Rock University

An adapted version of “A Christmas Carol” will be presented during a seven-show run.

Comments