I have a stash of stained and tattered time-tested recipes to which I often return when I need something quick, foolproof, and guaranteed to please. Because these recipes can often get lost in the back of the recipe box–or in the archives of a blog, as it were–I occasionally like to remake an old favorite at a time when it may be as helpful to you as it is to me.
As a general rule, recipes that allow for advance preparation and minimal time in the kitchen are what I seek out when entertaining. If you are in need of a simple yet special appetizer for New Years Eve or you wouldn’t mind another crowd-pleaser to serve while watching the big game, the following recipe for a crusty-yet-gooey baked Havarti is one to add to your box of favorites. (Or, perhaps, your Pinterest board!)
A hint of Dijon paired with this variety of cheese, simply wrapped and baked, produces a delightful alternative to a simple cheese tray. Add a bowl of mixed nuts and a veggie tray if you want to bolster the offerings and achieve a well-balanced spread.
I have assembled this recipe up to five or six hours in advance and then pop in the oven just before company arrives. (Simply rest on the counter for 20-30 minutes before baking to take off the chill.) A pleasant aroma will welcome your guests and, chances are, they will be requesting your recipe!
- 1 (8-ounce) package Original Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
- 1 block Havarti cheese with dill (aim for a block in the 7- to 9-ounce range)
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds, poppy seeds or a combination
- Crackers and optional apple slices, for serving
On a piece of parchment or wax paper, unroll the crescent rolls and press the seams together to form a rectangular piece. This will be wrapped completely around the piece of the cheese. I think it is easiest to pull apart the rolls, put them back together so they are slightly overlapping, and then press together so the edges are well sealed.
Spread the Dijon over the dough, and then sprinkle with the basil.
Place the Havarti in the middle of the dough. Bring the dough up and around the cheese, pressing along the edges to seal. The parchment or wax paper will help you lift it without over-stretching. Tip: I often have excess along two of the edges, so I slice this off, twirl the two strips of dough and lay them crisscross along the top for an easy, decorative touch. (See photo.)
Place on an ovenproof serving dish. No need to grease. Prep ahead tip: at this point, you may cover and refrigerate for several hours. Set on counter for 20-30 minutes before baking.
Preheat the oven to 350℉. While oven is heating, brush the beaten egg all over the dough, and then sprinkle with the sesame and/or poppy seeds.
Bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes or until golden brown. As all ovens vary, check a few minutes early. When the top is nicely golden, remove from the oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving with crackers and optional apple slices.
For another delicious appetizer that doubles as a make-ahead side dish, you may enjoy Baked Cheddar Spinach Squares.