Before the upcoming weekend sweeps me away with another furious wave of food, I must share last Friday’s vibrant and decadent garlic affair; this feast, my friends, was a meal to be reckoned with! The Garlic Party was dying to be born from the moment Emmita sputtered memories of her first garlic soiree in Madison, Wisconsin. When Elizabeth and Paul chimed in with their own fond and stinky recollections of the Garlic Festival in Juno, Alaska (hosted by a garlic-hat-parading friend) the garlic party’s manifestation in Ithaca was imminent. Louisa and Renato pounced on the occasion to host such an outrageous proposition: come with a dish inappropriately laden with garlic. Or else…

We all agreed we could open a restaurant with this menu alone, and sell out daily. This dinner was insanely delicious. Each dish was so complimentary, and we were driven to fits of laughter and garlic-induced delirium over each bite and the eventual game of charades that unfolded while we sipped on the last dregs of wine and petered out with the most herbaceous and locally-made absinthe.

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Renato and Louisa, the gorgeous and brave garlic hosts!
Renato and Louisa, the gorgeous and brave garlic hosts!

My own contribution was slightly disastrous in my mind, but the ingredients were in their own way fool-proof. Roasted Garlic, blueberry and brie!? Marvelous! And so, I will share my recipe tweaked for your success and with a bonus variation for a more savory finish!

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A few of the other dishes in the spread. An incredible lentil and parsnip shepard's pie, extra-garlicky peanut noodles, garlic-truffle risotto, and the blueberry flatbread turned tart!
A few of the other dishes in the spread. An incredible lentil and parsnip shepard’s pie, extra-garlicky peanut noodles, garlic-truffle risotto, and the blueberry flatbread turned tart!

Choose between a classic, flaky crust or a whole wheat, dairy-free crust – both will work beautifully! 

Refrigerator storage: best to limit storage to overnight. If stored too long, the olive oil begins to seep out leaving the dough tough to work with. When you’re ready to use it, remove from the fridge and allow to rest on the counter for at least 30 minutes prior to kneading. Sprinkle the counter top with flour, and run the ball of dough under water to moisten the mass. On the flour, knead the dough for a couple minutes until you achieve a softer consistency.  Roll out with a pin as needed.

Freezer storage worked best. When you’re ready to use the dough, defrost by removing to the fridge that morning (if you plan to cook in the evening), or to the counter top until you can slice through a non-frozen ball of dough. Follow the steps above for preparing the dough.

 

Roasted Garlic, Brie and Blueberry Flatbread

Prep Time: 35 minutes

Cook Time: 60 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 35 minutes

Yield: 12-16 appetizer servings

Blooper: I forgot to pre-bake my crust, which meant that the brie was bubbling over the dough for at least 45 minutes. The result: soggy crust steeped with buttery brie juice. I mean, you can't really go wrong in this case, but a sturdier, flakier crust would have better supported the luxurious toppings. Elizabeth had the genius idea of sandwiching two flatbread circles together to let the garlic, brie and blueberry meld together inside the tart - truly genius! This was INCREDIBLE. Still, I would make these according to the recipe I've transcribed below.

Ingredients

  • Pie Crust
  • 2 heads of garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 wedge of brie, cut into thin slices
  • 4 tablespoons of blueberry jam (or any other fruit preserves)
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon sel gris
  • 1 tablespoon crushed, dried rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, preferably a nice finishing olive oil

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400.
  2. Cut 1/4 off the stem-side tip of the garlic heads (not where the root is).
  3. Put the garlic in a baking dish or pan and coat the garlic with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Cover the dish with foil and bake the garlic for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let the garlic cool.
  4. Lower the oven to 350 degrees.
  5. Sprinkle a smooth surface with flour and roll out 6 rectangles or circles of flatbread crust. You can trim the crust to fit on your baking pans (no need to grease the pans, since the crust carries butter).
  6. Bake the crust for 35 minutes. Let the flatbread crust cool for about 10 minutes.
  7. Squeeze 2-3 cloves of garlic from the head and use a knife to spread the garlic on the flatbread crust.
  8. Layer the brie slices on top.
  9. Mix together the blueberry jam and honey and drizzle on the flatbread.
  10. Return the flatbreads to the oven for 5-10 more minutes, until the brie is melted and the crust is golden brown.
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