Cranberry + Brie Donuts are a new twist (quite literally) on that classic holiday appetizer! Just a handful of easy ingredients and you’ve got a festive and delicious party nosh!
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Baked Donuts with Cranberry Sauce and Melty Brie
Merriam-Webster says a donut is a small, usually ring-shaped piece of sweet fried dough. I’ve got small and ring-shaped…I think that’s close enough.
Making a traditional donut for our ‘Deck the Donuts’ cooking club challenge just wasn’t going to happen. And, neither was baking from scratch.
So, I decided to combine a classic holiday appetizer with the concept of a baked cronut, a la puff pastry, to create a festive dish to serve at parties. It’s a win, win as far as I’m concerned.
Ingredients + Substitutions for Cranberry + Brie Baked Donuts
This might be one of the shortest ingredient lists I’ve every made!
- Puff pastry — An all-butter puff pastry will yield the best tasting results. They also tend to have fewer ingredients and ones you can pronounce. You can find the premium priced Dufour brand at Whole Foods. If you’re near a Trader Joe’s, they have an All Butter Puff Pastry (that’s what I use). Otherwise, go with whatever you have access to…unless you want to make it from scratch, in which case, I bow to your baking prowess!
- Cranberry sauce — homemade (my choice) or store-bought is fine. Look for whole berry canned cranberry sauce, or around the holidays you’ll also find cranberry chutneys and relishes. All are great substitutions. If you’re not a fan of cranberry, select any flavor of jam or preserve you like!
- Brie cheese — I happened to pick up a slicing brie from TJs, but any round or wedge will do. You’ll be cutting into little chunks, so the shape doesn’t really matter. A firmer, less ripened brie will still melt nicely when you bake and be easier to cut and handle.
- Egg — brushing the puff pastry with egg wash helps to achieve a toasty, golden color.
- Rosemary — The rosemary is just for garnish, but it’s oh so perfect for adding that wintery finish to your serving platter!
How to Prepare Cranberry-Brie Cronuts
First, I have to give a shout out to Kelly at Just a Taste. When I was researching this recipe, I stumbled across her Chocolate Puff Pastry Twists and the light bulb went off! It inspired the pretty twist in this donut.
You’ll be using both sheets of puff pastry, but work with one a time for ease.
Step 1: On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the puff pastry sheet to approximately 10” by 14”. Cut the sheet into 8 equal rectangles. I love a pizza roller for this because it doesn’t tug and pull the pastry. If using a knife, cut straight down versus pulling the knife across.
Step 2: Spread about 1/2 tablespoon of cranberry sauce down the center of each rectangle, then roll it into a cigar shape. You can pinch the long seam together to help it stay shut.
Step 3: Place each piece seam side down, then cut each lengthwise in half. (The pizza roller works like a charm.) Pinch them together at one end, then twist the two halves together. Curl it into a donut shape and pinch the ends to seal. If you have a small ring mold or cookie cutter, you can curl the pastry around that to achieve uniformly sized donuts.
TIP: The dough will be pliable enough at this point that you can stretch it ever so slightly when you curl it into the donut shape. This is helpful if you’re forming around a ring mold or to achieve a large enough hole to place the brie.
Preheat the oven to 400°F, then repeat steps 1 through 4 with the second sheet of puff pastry. You can bake the first tray as the second tray chills out in the fridge.
Step 5: Brush the donuts with an egg wash, then bake for 10 minutes. At that time, remove the tray from the oven and quickly plop a chunk of brie in the center of each donut. Bake for another 5 minutes.
Step 6: The brie will melt and create a little more room in the donut hole. After you remove the tray from the oven, feel free to add another little bit of brie to the centers. They will soften perfectly as the donuts rest for a couple minutes.
Bake off the second tray of donuts, repeating steps 5 and 6. Arrange your donuts on a tray garnished with rosemary and serve with a little extra cranberry sauce on the side! They are best served warm!
Common Questions About Using Puff Pastry for Donuts
Thawing your puff in the fridge overnight is the best situation. It’ll maintain that perfect texture when you’re ready to work with it. If you’re thawing at room temperature (because of timing), there’s a sweet spot: if the dough is still too cold, it can crack. If it gets too warm, it can begin to melt.
They key to rolling out puff pastry is to dust your work surface and the top of the pastry (or your rolling pin) with a small amount of flour and to roll gently. Apply very light pressure to the rolling pin. At most you’re increasing the size of the pastry sheet by maybe 1/2” in every direction. Rolling it can actually help heal any small tears and help achieve an even thickness across the pastry.
Working with the puff warms it up and the butter within the laminated layers can begin to melt. If you bake from this stage, the butter will melt out and you’ll be left with limp pastries. Refrigerating the donuts first helps the butter to firm back up. As the donuts bake, the cold butter releases steam and helps make those flaky layers.
More Recipes That Use Puff Pastry…
- Prosciutto + Parm Brunch Rolls with Fig Jam Drizzle
- Mini Steak + Stout Pies
- Cashel Blue Cheese + Pear Tarts
- Crab + Goat Cheese Palmiers
Cranberry Brie Donuts (Cronuts!)
- 2 sheets puff pastry, store-bought frozen thawed in refrigerator overnight
- 1/2 cup cranberry sauce slightly warmed, plus more for serving
- 4 oz brie cut into 16 small chunks
- 1 egg beaten with 1 tbsp of water
- sprigs of rosemary for garnish
- Roll out one sheet of puff pastry to approximately 10" by 14". Cut it into 8 equal rectangles.
- Spread about 1/2 tablespoon of cranberry sauce down the center of each rectangle. Starting with the long side, roll the pastry into a cigar shape. Pinch the seam to seal it shut.
- With the seam sides down, cut each one in half down its length, then twist the two parts together. Curl it into a donut shape and pinch the ends together. (If you want to have uniformly sized donuts, you can curl it around a small ring mold.)
- Place 8 donuts on a sheet pan lined with parchment or Silpat and place them in the fridge for 15 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Repeat the process with the remaining sheet of puff pastry. You'll bake one tray at a time.
- Just before popping the tray in the oven, brush the donuts with an egg wash to achieve a nice golden brown color. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove the tray and place a nugget of brie into the center of each donut. Return to the oven and bake an additional 5 minutes.
- At the end of the baking time, remove the tray to a rack or trivet. If you'd like, you can add another small piece of brie to the center and allow it soften as the donuts cool for a minute or two. Transfer to a serving platter and garnish with rosemary.
Nutritional values are estimated and provided as a general guideline only.