By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by Wild Blueberries and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.
Appetizers made with wild blueberries are not very common, but I promise you, this one is a gem! Wild Blueberry Pecan Baked Brie with Holiday Spices uses frozen wild blueberries that are mixed with sugar and gingerbread spices, then poured over a pecan studded wheel of brie and baked until soft and bubbly. Served with gluten-free crackers, it makes an easy, delicious, and festive holiday appetizer.
An essential step in the recipe for Wild Blueberry Pecan Baked Brie with Holiday Spices is inserting the pecan halves into the brie. This creates nooks and crannies that serve to hold the tiny frozen wild blueberries in place. A few may slide off while baking, but most will remain securely nestled in between the pecans. Frozen wild blueberries work great in this recipe because of their diminutive size. Don’t try making this with frozen cultivated blueberries – they’ll mostly sit on top of the pecans instead of falling into the crevices.
You might be thinking that wild blueberries are just tiny versions of the bigger, and more common, cultivated blueberries that are available just about everywhere. Well, nothing could be further from the truth. Wild blueberries are native to North America, and, as the name implies, grow wild in Maine and Eastern Canada. Wild blueberries have more intense flavor than regular blueberries, with a unique mix of sweet and tart due to a lower water content. And if taste alone isn’t reason enough to eat them, consider this: 1 cup of wild blueberries have 8 times the manganese, 72% more fiber and 32% less sugar than cultivated blueberries. They also contain more of the powerful antioxidant anthocyanin than cultivated blueberries, which is impressive when you consider that regular blueberries are always being touted in the media for their high level of antioxidants.
Wild blueberries hold a special place in my heart because I associate them with our family’s favorite vacation destination – Mount Desert Island in Maine. It is here, where every summer we hike the trails of Acadia National Park. The lush, low growing bushes that dot the landscape of almost every trail in the park are bursting with wild blueberries in late summer. If we remember, we bring an extra container to collect some, but if not we simply enjoy randomly popping the tiny berries in our mouths in between sips of water, while enjoying some of the most majestic views in the Northeast.
Frozen wild blueberries are widely available in most mainstream grocery stores. I have been buying them for years in a big 3 lb. bag (Wyman’s brand) and using them in muffins, cookies, desserts, pancakes, and smoothies. I’m so pleased that with this recipe for Wild Blueberry Pecan Baked Brie with Holiday Spices, I can now add appetizer to the list of my favorite uses for frozen wild blueberries!
- 8-ounce wheel of brie
- ½ cup/2 ounces unsalted pecan halves
- 1 cup/4 ounces of frozen wild blueberries
- 3 tablespoons coconut sugar or brown sugar
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ginger
- ⅛ teaspoon cloves
- ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
- Pinch of salt
- 1½ ounces whole, fresh cranberries (garnish)
- Mint leaf (garnish)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the wheel of brie in a small shallow baking dish.
- Holding the pecan halves vertically, press each into the wheel of brie with the pointier ends until they are about halfway down into the cheese. (Start on the outer edge and work your way in, making concentric circles.)
- Combine the blueberries, sugar, spices, and salt. Pour the blueberry mixture over the brie and bake in the bottom third of the oven for 30 minutes until the cheese starts to bubble around the edges.
- Garnish with cranberries and mint leaf.
- Serve with gluten-free Christmas tree crackers. (See link to recipe in the first paragraph of this post.)
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