A Stellar Baked Brie en Croute

Baked Brie

This was a perfect day…

the sun shone on snow dressed boughs

the line of trees
tended the shadows of the trail’s path,

snow packed trails crunched, creaking beneath waxed skiis

a peaceful sanctuary, the only sound… my breath
quiet voices and laughter…
the only scent… a bouquet of pine and a wood stove’s burning heat

I wish I had remembered to bring a thermos of hot chocolate
or a little gingerbread biscotti

It’s something in the sparkling glitter of snow on trees

I love cross-country treks with my family… it was Katie’s first time…
I wondered if my son would give it a try too?
They usually prefer chair-lifts and high speed snowboarding turns from the top of a steep mountainside…

something I used to do as well…
but now I prefer a simpler outing, one that fits with the “slow food” way of life

of baguettes, cheese, pâté, chocolate, mandarin oranges and trail mix

this community seems friendlier, trusting, helpful and kind
… more relaxed …

it’s our shared pleasure, this gentler way of life…

Some activities just seem “resonate” as true, when they are the right match…

I plan to do more of this in the year 2012… 

When I first began writing, this blog was (and still is) a place of refuge.. a place for thoughts to drift like a blanket of snow settles on a landscape..  a place to express my imaginings, memories, poems, and food creations…

I never imagined this other wonderful community of people who I have met here. In fact, I didn’t know they even existed. Happy as a lark, I wrote and wrote… until one day someone “stopped by” and made a wee comment... I replied… and so began my journey into the heart of this blogging community.

There have been moments of celebration, curiosity, mutual support, laughter, and, on occasion, a serendipitous reminder of the 7 degrees of separation. Inspiration for me… is only a few clicks away where I can find poetry, writing, music, video, and, of course, recipes.

Being of a somewhat orderly nature, I attempt to keep “abreast” of most published posts.. and when away on vacation… come back to an inbox filled with missed blogs and moments. Even when I think I’ve kept on top of things, I think… “Hmmm, I haven’t heard from so-and-so in such a long while…” and off I go to see what they’ve been up to.

On occasion, awards are nominated and I cringe to admit that I have not “followed the rules” as usual. So today I’d like to celebrate and thank these “star” bloggers who have chosen me for the Versatile Blogger Award, the Liebster Award, and the Candlelighter Award.

  • My “candlelighter” Nia… she’s a lovely photographer and beautiful inside and out… Nia lives in Istanbul, and her generous comments and thoughtful, inventive posts are a true delight.
  • Travel with me to The Emerald Garden for lovely, meaningful stories and luscious photography of food and special places around Emerald, Victoria… I love her pups, Merlin and Bud!
  • I love the clever musings of Hetterbelle in her Patchwork of Life where she posts her pretty art and other thought-provoking “random snippets” on life.
  • I can’t miss stopping by to visit Jordana, whose White Cabana blog inspires me with her love for the pure beauty found in anything white.
  • Then there is the prolific Sharyn of the Kale Chronicles… whose blog is filled with her creative, original artful paintings and decadent recipes sure to tempt.
  • Stop by the The Unsweetie and discover how she has “unsweetened” her food and sweetened up the rest of her life… and ours!
  • Kathryn of kiwsparks will indulge your senses with her own art, poetry and lovely discourse on life. Kathryn is my beloved poet…
  • and finally, Antoinette, also warmly known as Spree… who puts love on the table for her family but also spreads that feeling of love to all who read her stories of sifting, stirring and baking.

There are so many more blogs that I enjoy… I plan to add another set of links to my site.. then you can explore as well.

One of the “rules” of these awards is to share 7 random pieces of information about myself. I’ll just share one today…

I have a fascination for the sky, cloud formations, the moon’s phases, stars and planets, constellations and asterisms, the aurora borealis, and solar flares

This appetizer was a recipe found on a very prolific and admired website… I have mentioned Greg and Katherine to you before…

Their website is Rufus’ Food and Spirits Guide. All that I’ve changed is it’s presentation..

I couldn’t resist covering it with a sky full of winter stars…and now that shouldn’t come as a surprise to you any more…

It’s a wonderful recipe, every last bit was devoured the night I made it.. so I think it might just be perfect for a New Year’s Celebration…

Happy New Year!


Stellar Baked Brie en Croute

A Stellar Baked Brie en Croute

Rating: 51

Cook Time: 20 minutes

A Stellar Baked Brie en Croute


2 sheets puff pastry defrosted

(one box with two pieces)

small 4” round of brie

1/4 cup brown sugar, packed

1/4 cup chopped pecans

1 egg yolk whisked with

about a teaspoon of cream


Preheat oven to 400F.

Lightly flour work surface and (if needed) roll out one pieces of the defrosted puff pastry dough into a large square.

Place the brie in the center of the dough. Place the sugar in the center and press down around the top of the cheese. Sprinkle pecans over the top.

Fold up pastry to mold and fit around the cheese, pinching and folding as needed. The center should be open, so you will need to cut off excess puff pastry dough.

Place on a silpat or parchment lined baking sheet.

Roll out the second sheet of puff pastry. Cut off the excess then drape the pastry over top of the cheese wheel. Tuck and pinch the bottom under the cheese until the cheese is completely encased in dough and the cheese with sugar mixture cannot leak out.

Gently fold the pastry scraps together and roll out on lightly floured surface. Using a cookie cutter, cut out medium sized stars (too small and the shape will be lost when baked). Stack in a circular motion, finishing on top.

Refrigerate overnight or for at least four hours.

When ready to bake, remove from fridge and brush with the egg yolk mixture.

Bake for about 20 minutes or until nicely golden brown.

Serve with baguette slices, crackers, or apple slices.

Variations: Adding a splash of rum or maple syrup to the brown sugar mixture, try using different nuts and chutneys and jams etc.

Adapted from Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide




  • susielindau - December 31, 2011 - 7:53 am

    Where are you skiing? There is no snow in Colorado!!
    Fab post, photos and recipe! Congrats on the awards-
    Happy New Year!ReplyCancel

    • Just A Smidgen - December 31, 2011 - 8:32 am

      I can’t believe you don’t have snow yet? I thought you had similar weather to us. We are in Vernon, British Columbia. Had to white-knuckle drive through a snow storm to get here. Happy New Year’s Eve!ReplyCancel

  • Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide - December 31, 2011 - 8:16 am

    Wow, that is beautiful. I love the star treatment. Such a nice post, although I’m reaching for a sweater now.ReplyCancel

    • Just A Smidgen - December 31, 2011 - 8:30 am

      Hahaha, at least it won’t be a Christmas sweater;) Thanks for letting me post your recipe. Btw, it sure was a hit, everyone loved it!ReplyCancel

  • ChgoJohn - December 31, 2011 - 9:05 am

    Beautiful wintry scenes and I’m beginning to wonder if we’ll ever see snow this year! Of course we will. It isn’t so much a matter of when as it is how much. It was nice getting to know a little more about you and that brie really was a thing of beauty! Now I’m off to check out a few of your favorite blogs. Have a great New Year!ReplyCancel

    • Just A Smidgen - December 31, 2011 - 1:58 pm

      Isn’t that always the case… we are just waiting for the cold to hit Calgary. Apart from one or two weeks, we don’t have much snow left. Happy New Year to you!!ReplyCancel

  • glutenfreezen - December 31, 2011 - 10:36 am

    Beautiful! I wonder if winter will ever reach us (Spokane, Washington)? Still no snow and today it is sunny and beautiful. Your brie was gorgeous!ReplyCancel

    • Just A Smidgen - December 31, 2011 - 1:58 pm

      I think Chicago (and John) have the same question:) Enjoy the sun and Happy New Year!ReplyCancel

  • rutheh - December 31, 2011 - 10:38 am

    Happy happy new year. I enjoy reading your blog and your winter pictures look inviting!
    I am visiting but am offering to make this beautiful brie.ReplyCancel

    • Just A Smidgen - December 31, 2011 - 10:55 am

      Awesome! Just make sure to allow time for pastry to defrost and then the time in the fridge before baking:)

      Sent from my iPhone


  • spree - December 31, 2011 - 10:57 am

    Stunning stunning stunning, in every way conceivable stunning. Every word, every breath of it – and oh the bite of brie so perfectly you! I will try this, and I will lift a star to Smidge!! Blessed happy new year to you and to yours! xoReplyCancel

    • Just A Smidgen - December 31, 2011 - 1:59 pm

      Oh, Spree… now that’s a lovely image… you lifting a star to toast… I’ll keep that one tucked away in my thoughts! Happy New Years to you and your family! xo SmidgeReplyCancel

  • yummychunklet - December 31, 2011 - 11:08 am

    I love Rufus’ blog. Great interpretation!ReplyCancel

  • Just Add Attitude - December 31, 2011 - 12:11 pm

    I love the snowy images. As soon as I saw the title of your post I felt hungry despite the fact that I had only, minutes previously, finished eating. On this the last day of 2011 I would like to wish you and yours a very happy and joy filled New Year. xReplyCancel

    • Just A Smidgen - December 31, 2011 - 2:01 pm

      I think I have perpetual “pretend” hunger… occasionally I do have “actual” hunger:) All the best in 2012 to you!!ReplyCancel

  • Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial - December 31, 2011 - 12:39 pm

    Happy New Year, Smidge! Gorgeous photos of a wintry wonderland! And your starred pastry is absolutely magnificent!ReplyCancel

    • Just A Smidgen - December 31, 2011 - 2:01 pm

      Thank you, Celia! I hope 2012 brings you everything you could wish for! xoReplyCancel

  • Jordana - December 31, 2011 - 12:47 pm

    While I’m not a fan of the snow I do love that second picture of the trees. They’re gorgeous.
    Thanks for the kind shout out…I always enjoy reading your comments!

  • Hetterbell - December 31, 2011 - 1:13 pm

    The trek looked absolutely lovely, as did the recipe. A very Happy New Year to you!ReplyCancel

    • Just A Smidgen - December 31, 2011 - 2:02 pm

      Three days worth of treks… today is a sleep and catch up on blogs day:) Before we celebrate New Year’s! xo SmidgeReplyCancel

  • Misk Cooks - December 31, 2011 - 1:14 pm

    Happy new year, Smidge! Lovely pastry. Lovely photography. You just can’t beat floury hands and a poetic heart. :) ReplyCancel

  • hotlyspiced - December 31, 2011 - 1:21 pm

    Your photos are beautiful. The scenery looks so magical and peaceful. Happy New Year Barbara.ReplyCancel

    • Just A Smidgen - December 31, 2011 - 2:07 pm

      I sure appreciate your compliments! Have a wonderful New Years as well! xoxoReplyCancel

  • kathryningrid - December 31, 2011 - 3:46 pm

    So much food for thought, tastebuds and soul all combined in one post? That’s just how you are, isn’t it. :) It’s no wonder we all want to ‘hang around your hearth’ and be with you. So congratulations on these richly deserved and hard-earned medals and certifications, and thank you kindly for sharing them with our other dear cohorts and me!

    I love cross-country skiing (mostly for the scenery, of course) but have rarely had that opportunity and don’t expect to much around here in Texas, so I thoroughly enjoyed being taken along for the trip today!! Brie en croute is such a treat, and yours looks like a brilliant work of art. You know, it does occur to me that a woman with such an affinity for the stars really does need to get on down here to the Lone Star State for a visit at some point. The guest room awaits you! :)

    A deliriously, deliciously happy New Year to you, my dear Barbara! May it be dazzling as a sky full of stars.

    • Just A Smidgen - January 1, 2012 - 10:52 am

      Hope you had the best New Year’s Yet!! And thanks so much for the invitation… I shall keep this in mind:) xo BarbReplyCancel

  • ceciliag - December 31, 2011 - 5:54 pm

    Oh I love the brie, it is one of my favourites too and yours is SO GORGEOUS! Have a wonderful wonderful day.. .. it is great isn’t it and you are one of the few blog friends that I may actually be able to find and meet for a glass of wine, because to see my son i have to fly into calgary! I must make a plan! love celiReplyCancel

    • Just A Smidgen - December 31, 2011 - 6:15 pm

      Do plan on it!! It would be fun and I promise not to wear my gum boots;) Have a wonderful New Year’s!!ReplyCancel

  • Shauna Smith - December 31, 2011 - 7:02 pm

    Wow what beautiful pictures.. I just looked at them and felt the peacefulness, awesome!! I adore your blog! Thank you for sharing with us!ReplyCancel

  • Kay aka Babygirl - December 31, 2011 - 7:34 pm

    I just love these photos.. and all that snow. Although I love snow, I’m happy it has not arrived here lol. Congrats on winning awards.. I just adore this blog and you definitely deserve them :). Love the baked brie as well. I wish you and your family a happy new year!ReplyCancel

    • Just A Smidgen - January 2, 2012 - 5:34 pm

      Thank you, Kay. You know, I looked back and you were one of the first to comment on my blog… I sure appreciate your visits and encouragement in the early days:)ReplyCancel

  • Colleen - December 31, 2011 - 7:38 pm

    Those photos are gorgeous. I’m envious of the snow! There’s only been a bit of snow here so far this winter and it was all melted by noon. The brie en croute looks delicious. Have a happy new year!ReplyCancel

    • Just A Smidgen - January 2, 2012 - 5:35 pm

      Our snow is precarious here as well, unless we go up to the mountains where the rain turns to snow. Even in Calgary the temperatures keep warming up and melting everything… very strange weather on this planet of ours! Happy New Year to you!ReplyCancel

  • Anonymous - December 31, 2011 - 7:46 pm

    Happy New Year, Smidge, with tons of love across the miles xxxReplyCancel

  • Bam's Kitchen - December 31, 2011 - 10:37 pm

    Happy 2012 Smidge!! I hope you had a wonderful holiday with your family and friends. I am sure they enjoyed the starry baked brie- beautiful!ReplyCancel

    • Just A Smidgen - January 2, 2012 - 5:35 pm

      Thanks and the same to you:) I think 2012 is going to be a great year for all of us!!ReplyCancel

  • Erica - December 31, 2011 - 11:26 pm

    Wow! So much snow! And what a perfect day you look to have had . . . as you go on more of these excursions, I hope you take more photos and share more stories. Happy New Year!ReplyCancel

    • Just A Smidgen - January 2, 2012 - 5:41 pm

      There was a dump of fresh snow that night… which led to a wonderful few days of skiing! Happy New Year to you and your loved ones:)ReplyCancel

  • promenadeplantings - January 1, 2012 - 3:54 am

    Simply beautiful. You have captured the essence of the mountains, the snow, everything! wishing you a very happy 2012. And thanks for the links, I see I’m going to be busy with lots of reading :) ReplyCancel

    • Just A Smidgen - January 2, 2012 - 5:42 pm

      I hope you enjoy them… it was about time and it makes it so much easier for me to visit my blogging friends as well! Happy New Year!!ReplyCancel

  • The Hook - January 1, 2012 - 4:29 am

    My little corner of the world is snow-free as well – but I don’t mind!
    Great shots!ReplyCancel

    • Just A Smidgen - January 2, 2012 - 5:43 pm

      Yes… we don’t have snow at the lower elevations.. just a skiff. This is up in the mountains where it belongs:) JK, a little bit down here wouldn’t hurt, as long as it doesn’t get too cold!ReplyCancel

  • Carolyn Chan - January 1, 2012 - 9:06 am

    Happy new year to you Barbara ! I had the opposite weather here – it was 28 degrees with high humidity at midnight last night :)
    And that brie en croute looks amazing !ReplyCancel

    • Just A Smidgen - January 2, 2012 - 5:44 pm

      Wow, I wouldn’t mind a week or two of that weather, Carolyn! Hope 2012 brings you everything you hope for!ReplyCancel

  • niasunset - January 1, 2012 - 4:22 pm

    Congratulations dear Barbara, you deserve all these awards… You are so nice one and you are one of my beautiful blogger friends. This is great honor to be nominated by you. Thank you, as always your writing and your photographs fascinated us. “Us” means in here, with my son. We watched together today and he wanted to say his wishes for you and greetings… Happy New Year, dear Barbara, with my love, niaReplyCancel

  • ....RaeDi - January 1, 2012 - 5:41 pm

    You can send some snow our way, it is cold and wet, rain! Would love to have the beautiful white stuff! Your pictures are beautiful….ReplyCancel

  • bitsandbreadcrumbs - January 1, 2012 - 5:50 pm

    What gorgeous scenes and you have so much snow! So lovely, as is your star-studded brie. I’m going to check out these new to me bloggers, and congratulations on your awards, well deserved. Happy New Year to you!ReplyCancel

    • Just A Smidgen - January 2, 2012 - 5:45 pm

      It’s fine to discover new sites… I’ve got my favs and am always on the hunt for new ones:) Happy New Year to you and yours!! Here’s to 2012!!ReplyCancel

  • Aimee@clevermuffin - January 1, 2012 - 6:01 pm

    Oh wow, that photos of the snow absolutely sparkle! You take an amazing shot. And congratulations on all the awards, I look forward to your post soon sharing the seven things about yourself… it’s something I’ve been avoiding for awhile as well. Happy new year Barbara!ReplyCancel

    • Just A Smidgen - January 2, 2012 - 5:47 pm

      Thanks, Aimee.. I’m not sure I’ll ever get to all seven;) Btw, I’ve sure been enjoying your lighthearted humor in your blog, always makes my day!!ReplyCancel

  • Courtney - January 1, 2012 - 10:32 pm

    What a lovely cross country trek! (and can I just say your daughter is gorgeous!). I’m really missing snow right now, though I know it’s just a short hour’s drive away. I think you’ve inspired me to pack up the fam and go check it out. I hope you’ve had a wonderful start to the New Year, Barbara! (oh, and of couse the brie looks divine!)ReplyCancel

    • Just A Smidgen - January 2, 2012 - 5:49 pm

      Ahhh, she’s my baby girl, love that little sweetheart (I can say little because she never grew past my height:) I think snow is great a few hours away, we don’t have any until we go up into the mountains. Makes it so much easier to get around and walk our dog:) Happy New Year to you and your lovely family!!ReplyCancel

  • Geni - Sweet and Crumby - January 2, 2012 - 7:24 am

    I’ve never, ever seen that much snow. That is so beautiful and I love the photos. Greg and Katherine are the Bomb and so is this Brie in puff pastry. Love the stars across it. Very Smidge of you! ;) ReplyCancel

    • Just A Smidgen - January 2, 2012 - 5:50 pm

      Oh… if you’re ever up our way in the midst of winter, I’d be happy to show you around:) Happy New Year to you!! All the best in 2012!!ReplyCancel

  • Caroline - January 2, 2012 - 12:46 pm

    Gorgeous photos of the snow, I’m so jealous! I could drive a couple of hours up to the mountains here in CA, but there still wouldn’t be that much snow. That brie sounds incredible–one of my favorite cheeses. Happy New Year!! :) ReplyCancel

    • Just A Smidgen - January 2, 2012 - 5:51 pm

      Thanks so much, Caroline! I love brie as well and knew I had to make this recipe when I read it on Rufus’ blog:)ReplyCancel

  • Christina - January 2, 2012 - 1:26 pm

    What amazing photos! I love to go skiing but unfortunately we are surrounded by cornfields and not mountains. Looks like you had an amazing time! :) Baked brie is one of my favorites to serve around the holidays…I love the star cutouts on top. Super cute! :) ReplyCancel

    • Just A Smidgen - January 2, 2012 - 5:52 pm

      Now cornfields would be such a pretty sight and beautiful to photograph! I think we always often take for granted what we have? I would love to visit your part of the world! Here’s to a wonderful 2012!!!ReplyCancel

  • Kristy - January 2, 2012 - 2:42 pm

    Well, you know how I feel about this brie…addicted!!!! I love the stars you added. It’s very appropriate for New Years/Winter indeed. Beautiful!!!! Happy New Year Smidge. :) ReplyCancel

    • Just A Smidgen - January 2, 2012 - 5:54 pm

      Hahaha, I think I’m addicted to all cheese:) Wishing you wonderful things in 2012, Kristy!!ReplyCancel

  • kathryningrid - January 2, 2012 - 2:56 pm

    Happy New Year, and if you haven’t seen it yet, I wanted to acknowledge your great contribution to my enjoyment of blogging this year both here and ‘at my place’:


    Consider it a no-strings-attached blog award of my own to you!


    • Just A Smidgen - January 2, 2012 - 3:20 pm

      Oh my!! I’m in a grocery store right now but look forward to reading this!!! Thanks so much!!

      Sent from my iPhone


  • Eve Redwater - January 2, 2012 - 6:12 pm

    Oh wow, how delicious does that look! And beautiful photographs to boot!ReplyCancel

  • Joanna - January 2, 2012 - 6:12 pm

    I thought I left a comment but I must be dreaming, all that snow has got in my eyes! Sparkle sparkle :) What beautiful photos and what a lovely blog you have here too. Happy New Year Smidge !ReplyCancel

  • cityhippyfarmgirl - January 2, 2012 - 7:06 pm

    *sigh* all that beautiful, beautiful snow. Makes me want to reach for my mittens, hat and snow boots… oh I don’t have any :-(
    Happy skiing Barbara, enjoy every sparkle of it.ReplyCancel

  • Neil E. Das - January 2, 2012 - 11:35 pm

    Barbara, that is a beautifully made baked brie. The stars are very cool, as are all the lovely snow pictures. I am envious of your snow.ReplyCancel

    • Just A Smidgen - January 2, 2012 - 11:57 pm

      Thanks so much… it was fun to make! I would share our snow if I could…ReplyCancel

  • thecompletecookbook - January 3, 2012 - 6:58 am

    Happy 2012 – have a wonderful year! I have never seen snow so beautiful photographed before – absolutely stunning!
    :-) MandyReplyCancel

  • spicegirlfla - January 4, 2012 - 7:16 am

    I know when I come to “visit” you I will feel so good inside! I love your musings, your photography and the little things in life that make you happy also do the same for me. I could so see having hot chocolate and biscotti in that little cabin! Happy New Year and the best for 2012.ReplyCancel

  • Desirae Fiebelkorn - January 4, 2012 - 6:31 pm

    lol found your blog when looking for different bbq sauces, dont know how that happened!ReplyCancel

  • Beth - January 6, 2012 - 4:02 am

    What beautiful photos! It looks like you’ve got a lot more snow in British Columbia than we do in southwest Ontario!ReplyCancel

  • Mama's Gotta Bake - January 7, 2012 - 11:23 am

    I absolutely love your photography, keep on shooting and sharing with us!ReplyCancel

  • thekalechronicles - January 8, 2012 - 10:54 pm

    Just got to this — by now you are thinking I have no manners at all. Thanks for the lovely profile. And I love the stars on the Brie.ReplyCancel

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