Brown Ale Baklava With Baked Brie and Figs
For something that sounds so fancy, this is an extraordinarily easy dish to make. The figs and the nut mixture can be made in advance (transfer them to airtight containers; store the figs in the fridge and the nuts at room temperature). In addition to the traditional butter used to brush onto phyllo when making baklava, we add a bit of beer. The beer bakes off, leaving a crispier phyllo crust than any baklava you’ve had before.
- 6 medium black Mission figs, quartered (see Note)
- 1/4 cup walnut halves
- 1/4 cup shelled pistachios
- 2 tablespoons golden brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 4 tablespoons, divided, brown ale
- 1/4 cup honey, warmed
- 5 sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed overnight in refrigerator
- 1 (8-ounce) wheel brie
- For serving: crackers or toasted bread
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
Arrange the quartered figs in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Roast for 20–30 minutes, until the figs have darkened and shriveled. (Water content in figs varies wildly, so keep an eye on them to make sure they don’t burn). Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees F.
Combine the walnuts, pistachios, brown sugar, and cinnamon in the bowl of a food processor and process until the nuts resemble crumbs.
In a small bowl, stir together the melted butter and 2 tablespoons of the beer. In another small bowl, stir together the honey and the remaining 2 tablespoons of beer.
Line the baking sheet with fresh parchment paper. Place one sheet of phyllo dough on it and brush it with the butter mixture. Add a second layer on top and brush it with the butter mixture. Repeat with the remaining three phyllo sheets and butter mixture.
Place the brie wheel in the center of the phyllo sheets. Scatter the nut mixture over the top, then add the figs. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of the honey mixture over the figs.
Gently gather the edges of the phyllo up and over the brie to form a tight package. Brush the top with another 2 tablespoons of the honey mixture.
Bake for 25 minutes or until the phyllo is a dark golden brown. Transfer to a serving platter and drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of honey mixture. Use a sharp cheese knife to cut into the round, and serve with crackers.
Note: Roasted fresh figs add a beautiful char and caramelized sweetness to this dish, but if you can find only dried (or want to use figs you’ve dehydrated yourself), this recipe will work just as well. Simply skip the roasting step and start making the nut mixture.
Reprinted with permission from “Lush: A Season-by-Season Celebration of Craft Beer and Produce” by Jacquelyn Dodd. Published by Agate Surrey, October 2019.