Oh yes, you heard it correctly. The Baked Brie Dog, which was born, baked, and eaten at a Memorial Day barbecue this weekend, will not be seen at the Great Hot Dog Cook-Off this July. But it only marks the beginning of the hot dog greatness that the event will doubtless inspire. Who said hot dog competitions were only about stuffing your face ’til you threw up into plastic cups? We, slightly north of Coney Island, have much more respect for our dogs than that.
This is the third annual season for the amateur cook-off, and I’m proud to be co-hosting the event along with Kara of Ted & Amy’s Supper Club, also its founder. This year all proceeds will help feed our city’s hungry by supporting The Food Bank for New York City. Your ticket/donation to the cook-off gets you unlimited hot dogs from the contestants’ entries, free beer and an all-around good time. Chef sign-ups are currently open too, so if you think you’ve got what it takes to compete, don’t wait around. First, a word on the new categories this year. You have a choice of entering your original hot dog creation for one of the following awards: Best Chili Dog, Best Veggie Dog and Best Neither of the Above Dog. The Chili Dog category is a call-to-arms for lovers of the classic greasy spoon combo. But that doesn’t necessarily mean anything “classic” will take first place. The Veggie Dog category is limited to no-meat dogs with any number of topping(s) imaginable from the vegetarian paradise. Finally, the Neither of the Above Dog is the category where you can really just go insane. Past winners like the Pesto Dog would fall into this group, as well as this Baked Brie Dog.
Remember that you should begin with a frankfurter, hot dog, wiener — whatever you prefer to call it — and build from there. If you want to try to make the links yourself, give it a go, but it should end up more or less like a hot dog than homemade sausage, for fairness’ sake. Of all the three categories, only one winning dog will be crowned Best Dog in Show, but there will be an Audience Award winner as well, so get your friends to come along.
Back to this Brie Dog, though: I think I may have gained ten pounds after eating/making this. But the self-satisfaction gained, too, makes it all worthwhile. I’ve treated myself to the decadent, holiday-esque pleasures of baked brie, that puff pastry-enclosed wheel of warm brie with red jam slathered in between. Loved how the cheese pooled, oozing together with the jam when spread on a cracker with a few crumbled flakes of the pastry on top. So I thought it couldn’t hurt to ram a grilled hot dog into the middle of all this mess. Well, my tastebuds that is, not my Health Factor rating.
There are a couple of things I might have done differently with this, though. I made a very buttery pie pastry dough with some baking powder added to it for a little airy boost. Maybe I could have gone a more flaky, biscuit-y route. The other thing was that after I rolled out ovals of pastry, filled them with the cooked dogs, jam and cheese, and sort of sealed them shut, I could have placed them seal-side down on the baking sheet to help keep them from opening. (This was recommended to me by a friend several minutes after they had been baking.) I kind of don’t mind the way they opened up, though. The last thing was that it could have used a little more Brie, according to the barbecuers, and even some more jam. So the recipe below includes more generous proportions of those than I made.
Stay tuned for another hot dog invention on this blog before the big day, and for more news on the event. Maybe I should just quit this blogging business, buy a little cart, and park it at Coney Island. Nathan’s had better watch out!
Baked Brie Dog
(makes 4 dogs)
4 frankfurter links
1 1/4 cups flour
1 stick butter, cut into cubes
2-3 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
4-6 oz. Brie, cut into 1/4″ slices
about 3 tablespoons raspberry jam
First, cook the hot dogs in whatever fashion you like.
Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a bowl. Cut in the cold butter cubes with a pastry cutter, food processor or your hands until the butter pieces are no larger than a pea. Add the milk one tablespoon at a time until the dough comes together. Form into a ball and chill if not rolling out immediately. Break the ball into 4 even pieces and roll or press out into oval-shaped crusts big enough to wrap the hot dogs in completely with the fillings.
Preheat oven to 374 degrees. Top each of the dough pieces with an even layer of raspberry jam, keeping it away from the ends of the dough at least half an inch. Top with an even layer of the Brie slices. Place the cooked hot dogs in the center of each one, and gently fold to seal shut. Place sealed dogs on a baking sheet and bake about 12-15 minutes, until the dough has just turned slightly golden at points. Remove from oven and let cool a few minutes before eating.
(for 4 servings)
4 hot dogs (at $4.29/pkg of 10): $1.94
1 1/4 cups flour: $0.25
1 stick butter: $1.00
3 tablespoons jam: $0.35
6 oz. Brie: $1.50
3 tablespoons milk: $0.15
salt, sugar, baking powder: $0.25
Eight brownie points: Did I mention that this was a special-occasion type of treat? Okay, good. I think that pretty much sums it up — it’s party food, thrill-seeking food, and incredibly rich and filling food. But I’m giving myself eight instead of nine brownie points because I actually scored a wedge of “Light Brie” at Trader Joe’s, and I couldn’t tell the difference.
Almost no maple leaves: I couldn’t find organic hot dogs at my local Associated Market — no surprise there, but took caution to buy one that had at least all-natural ingredients. The jar of jam I used was a token from someone’s trip to England, so there’s not much to say for greenness there. The only thing mildly earth-conscious was the non-hormone treated cow’s milk butter.