This Vegan Baked Brie in Puff Pastry is the stuff of holiday appetizer dreams!!!! Gooey homemade easy-to-make vegan brie cheese is paired with cranberry sauce, walnuts, and wrapped up in flaky crispy puff pastry. Don't be surprised when this gets gobbled up at lightning speed. The perfect appetizer for Christmas, Thanksgiving, or any holiday party.
Servings: 6servings (makes one baked brie in puff pastry)
Softening the cashews first helps them blend. If you have a high-powered blender you may be able to skip this step, but if not, this step is important to get a smooth cheese. You can either boil or soak the cashews. To boil the cashews (the fast method): add the cashews to a small pot, cover with water, and boil for about 10 minutes until the cashews are very tender. To soak the cashews: add the cashews to a bowl, and cover with water. Let soak for 4 hours or overnight until tender. Drain and rinse cashews before using.
To make the vegan brie:
Add the cashews along with ⅔ cup of water, tapioca starch, nutritional yeast, vinegar, salt and garlic powder to a blender. Blend until completely smooth. It will be very watery.
Pour into a small saucepan and put over medium-high heat. Continually stir. The cheese will start forming clumps, keep stirring and it will continue clumping until the mixture turns from watery to a thicker melty cheese sauce. This takes 2 - 3 minutes. Line a 4 inch spring form pan with parchment paper, or use a similar sized container lined with parchment paper, or use a 4 inch silicon mold. Pour the cheese into the prepared mold, and freeze overnight. This can be kept frozen until ready to use.
When ready to assemble:
Preheat your 400F (200C). Line an 8" x 8" baking pan with parchment paper (or use a similar sized baking dish).
On a lightly floured surface roll out one of the puff pastry to ⅛" thickness, making a square that's about 10" x 10". Spread the cranberry sauce in the middle of the puff pastry making a circle about the same size as your vegan brie. Sprinkle the walnuts on top of the cranberry sauce. Then place the frozen un-wrapped brie on top of that. (I find placing the cranberry sauce on the bottom makes it easier to pinch the puff pastry closed without sauce escaping everywhere).
Gather the edges of the puff pastry and wrap around the brie. Pinch the pastry closed. Remove any excess pastry if needed. Optionally, you can use any leftover pastry to make leaf shapes or any other decorations you like. Once wrapped, brush the puff pastry with aquafaba or plant-based milk, this will help it get golden brown in the oven. Carefully transfer the wrapped brie to the prepared baking pan and bake for 45 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown. Serve hot.
Raw Cashews: cashews are my favourite to make the smoothest creamiest cheese. Alternatively, you could sub blanched almonds or macadamia nuts. For a nut-free option you could try raw sunflower seeds but they might give the cheese a green tint.Tapioca starch: is what makes the brie gooey and the perfect texture. You can try substituting a different type of starch but I highly recommend sticking to tapioca starch if possible for the best result.Puff Pastry: a lot of brands of frozen puff pastry are vegan, just check the ingredients to make sure. I used half a package of Tenderflake puff pastry which is vegan (that said I have noticed they sometimes change their recipe so always double check).Cranberry sauce: feel free to sub the cranberry sauce for your favourite jam or preserve. Strawberry jam, raspberry jam, apricot jam, and fig jam would all be great!Walnuts or pecans: feel free to sub for another nut or seed.Aquafaba: aquafaba is the leftover liquid in a can of chickpeas. I find this works best to help make the pastry golden, but if you don't have any on hand, any plant-based milk will work just fine.