This appetizer isn’t just gorgeous: it’s delicious, too. And all it requires is a few ingredients and a little time to cut and twist the snowflake into place.
2 sheets frozen puff pastry, defrosted overnight in the refrigerator
1 7-ounce (4″ diameter) wheel of brie
4 tbsp Armanino Basil Pesto, divided
4 tbsp grated parmesan, divided
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tsp everything bagel seasoning, sesame seeds or poppyseeds
Unwrap the cheese and with a sharp knife, trim off enough of the top rind to just expose the cheese beneath.
Place one sheet of pastry on a lightly floured piece of parchment and roll gently to a square slightly larger than 10″. Using a 10″ round plate as a guide, cut a 10″ diameter disc. Place on a parchment paper lined sheet pan and return to the refrigerator to keep chilled.
Using the same method, cut second pastry sheet into a slightly smaller disc – 9 to 9 ½” in diameter.
Place the trimmed brie in the center of the smaller pastry disc.
Brush a little beaten egg on the pastry around the brie, about ¼” wide all around.
Spread 3 tablespoons of the pesto in an even layer over the pastry around the brie up to the egg wash line, leaving a ¼” clean border at the outer edge.
Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of the parmesan on top of the pesto for a nice even layer.
Remove the larger pastry disc from the refrigerator and place on top, adjusting quickly to center the pastry, then gently tuck and nudge it a little around and just a little under the brie, pressing to seal against the egg wash and making sure there are no air pockets. Pat the outside edges of the circle down gently to adhere to the pesto.
Use a fork to prick the pastry around base of the brie in a neat circle. With a sharp knife, clean up any uneven outer pastry edges that don’t quite match up.
Brush the entire pastry surface with egg wash.
With a sharp knife, cut the pastry into thin strips from the base of the brie (just before the fork pricks) to the edge of the pastry, about ¼” wide. There should be about 42-46 small strips. A few more or less or an odd number won’t hurt.
Grab one strip, stretch it a little and twist to the right 5 times.
Grab the next strip, don’t stretch, and twist to the left 3 times. You will have two strips: one long, one short twisting in opposite directions. Continue in this manner – long 5 times to the right, short 3 times to the left – around the entire brie. If you have an odd number of strips, don’t worry; no one will notice.
Chill the snowflake for 30 minutes and preheat the oven to 375°F with a rack in the lower third of the oven.
Remove the snowflake from the refrigerator, give the pastry a little press all around the brie to reseal, retwist and adjust any strips that have become untwisted.
Sprinkle the twists lightly with the seeds of choice (everything seasoning, sesame and/or poppy) and prick the top of the brie 3-4 times with a fork to allow steam to release during baking.
Bake for 25-30 minutes until crisp and golden brown. Halfway through baking, sprinkle the twists with the remaining 1 tablespoon parmesan cheese and rotate the pan. If the twists are browning too quickly, cover with foil.
Remove from the oven and let sit 5 minutes to cool slightly then transfer to a serving platter by sliding a spatula under the pastry, making sure it is completely loose from the parchment. With a few careful nudges, gently slide the pastry onto a serving platter or board.
With a small sharp knife or a pair of scissors (if you have a small serrated knife, use it), cut and remove a neat, small circle from the top of the pastry to expose the melted brie underneath.
Swirl in the remaining tablespoon of pesto on top of the melted brie and serve immediately while cheese is warm and soft, breaking off pesto twists to dip into the melted cheese.
The recipe can be assembled through Step 14 (assembled and chilled) and stored in the refrigerator, lightly covered with plastic wrap several hours before baking.
To cut the strips evenly, mark off the pastry in quarters and cut thin ¼” strips then cut the same number of strips from each quarter.