Oh there’s no place like home for the holidays…that is for sure. This time of year we are serenaded by a plethora of Christmas songs that paint a quintessential picture of families…cozied up around the hearth and tree wearing gaudy reindeer sweaters, holding cups of piping hot cocoa bursting with marshmallows, singing together in a syncronized ‘Yahoo Dores’ type of fashion, while the kids hang strings of popcorn on the tree and bake fresh cookies to leave for Santa by the chimney with care.


This is what other families houses look like at Christmas, I suspect.

This all sounds lovely. Scratch the record and skip to my house during the holidays and it’s a whole different story, as I suspect is the case for many this time of year. Dog’s barking, people barking, dog’s knocking over tree, pissing matches over what music we will listen to and who gets the ‘good plug’ with the key location in the kitchen for their electronics. It’s a veritable shit show most of the time. Don’t get me wrong, I love my family, but, I like to think this pattern is caused by the fact that it’s not easy when everyone is used to doing their own thing, and then suddenly thrown into the way-back machine of when everyone lived together. It makes me feel like I should be wearing braces and be listening to radio mixed-tapes on my boom box at times. (shudder…oh the humanity!)


Aaaand, this is the sort of scene I wake up to on Christmas morning at my house. Santa’s been at it again!

So, naturally, we kick little Cindy Lou Who to the curb, forego the singing around the hearth, we scarf down the popcorn meant for the tree washed down by whatever ridiculously fruity ‘tini’ my brother is into this year, we fire up the mimosas lickety-split, and descend on the kitchen to let the good times roll. Why does this work? Simple. The kitchen is the one place that solves all of your worries, cause everything is better with cocktails and fattening food when family comes together for it’s annual holiday convention. Let’s face it, that is one of the driving factors in getting folks together!



Just bend, curtsy, and serve like you are channeling June Cleaver.

So, as family and friends begin to convene in droves for the festivities, we are left with the eternal question…what do I bring as an appetizer to that party at Joe Bob Sue’s? How can I become the hostess with the mostest when there are so many options and so little time. So, to help relieve the stress of searching for that perfect recipe, I plan to post some of my favorite hearty, two-bite, manageable dishes that are sure to please any guest. I am kicking these off with a little gem called the Baked Brie & Apple Tart. It’s a lovely, flavorful, creamy cheese that meshes perfectly with a little bite and crisp texture from those Granny Smith’s. Most importantly…it’s easy to pick up and devour without looking like a hog at a troth. So, without further adieu…enjoy!

Simple Entertaining: Baked Brie & Apple Tarts

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Yield: 8

Serving Size: 1

Simple Entertaining: Baked Brie & Apple Tarts


  • 1 box (2 sheets) of puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 green apple
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar, divided
  • 1 Tbsp butter, divided
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon, divided
  • 1 medium wedge of brie
  • 1 egg
  • flour (for rolling)


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
  2. Unfold 1 sheet of puff pastry onto a lightly floured board and roll it slightly with a floured rolling pin until it's a 10 by 10-inch square. Cut the sheet into quarters with a sharp knife.
  3. Place a good-sized slice of brie and 3 or 4 this slices of apple the middle of each of the 4 squares. Sprinkle apples with cinnamon and brown sugar and top with a pat of butter.
  4. Brush the border of each pastry with egg wash and fold 2 opposite corners to the center, brushing and overlapping the corners of each pastry so they firmly stick together. Brush the top of the pastries with egg wash.
  5. Place the pastries on the prepared sheet pan. Repeat with the second sheet of puff pastry.
  6. Bake the pastries for about 20 minutes, rotating the pan once during baking, until puffed and brown.
  7. Serve warm.

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