What is more classic at a Christmas party than spinach artichoke dip? Remember when serving it from a hollowed out round of bread was the height of party innovation? I wanted to create a familiar classic with an updated twist, so I added in creamy brie cheese for a little extra punch and richness (it is the holidays after all). A spritz of lemon, a little garlic, leafy parsley and you’ve got a flavorful new variation on an old favorite. And as it is Christmas, I added in pimentos for some red pops in the green. It has been a hit, especially since I molded into the shape of a Christmas tree for some added festive fun.
I bought this great small Christmas tree baking pan at a bargain price (Aldi, I think, or a dollar store) and it is great for loaf cakes and cheese spreads. But don’t worry, if you don’t have a tree mold, you can make this in a small ring mold or mini Bundt pan, in which case it is more of a wreath, or just in a bowl that will give you a lovely, inverted mound which you can decorate with more pimentos and herbs. Or just serve it in a bowl, not as an unmolded affair. Serve it with classic crackers or crostini, but if you find them star or tree shaped crackers are extra festive.
Spinach, Artichoke and Brie Spread
8 ounce wheel brie cheese
1 (10-ounce) bag frozen cut spinach, thawed
1 (12-ounce) jar artichoke hearts in water or brine (not marinated), rinsed and drained
4 green onions, white, light and some dark green parts
¼ cup Italian parsley leaves
2 cloves garlic
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
Zest and juice of half a lemon
1 teaspoon kosher salt and several grinds of black pepper
1 (4-ounce) jar diced pimentos
- Cut the rind from the brie while it is cold (it’s easier when it is firm). You don’t have to get every bit of rind, just most of the thickest parts. Cut the brie into pieces and leave to come to room temperature. Wrap the spinach in a tea towel and squeeze out as much moisture as possible. Put the green onions, cut into pieces, the parsley and the garlic in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to chop everything up finely, scraping the sides of the bowl. Add the drained artichoke hearts and pulse to chop into fine pieces, scraping the bowl. Add the cream cheese, cut into cubes, the brie, the pressed spinach, crumbled into pieces, the lemon zest and juice and salt and process to combine completely, scraping the bowl again. Add the pimentos and pulse a few times to combine.
- Generously spray a mold holding about 3 cups with cooking spray. Fill the mold with the mixture and press it in tightly – pack it in so you have a solid molded form when you remove it. Cover the top with plastic wrap and refrigerate for eight hours or up to two days.
- Place a plate over the mold and invert. Leave for a few minutes to let the spread slide out of the mold – you can place some paper towels dampened with hot water over the mold to loosen things up.