{How to Handle an Epic Fail} Basil and Brie Flatbread

When you have an epic fail, you have three options:

  1. Give up
  2. Try doing it the same way again and hope for a different result (Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity).
  3. Try something different

I had this concept for a blog post in my head.  Store or Scratch – a recipe that could either be made completely from scratch or with store-bought ingredients.  Brilliant, right?

I came up with the idea for a flatbread appetizer while I was picking up supplies for a family BBQ at Trader Joe’s.   Since I knew I wasn’t dealing with any food allergies, I was able to buy all the pre-made ingredients there: pizza dough, white bean basil hummus, and brie cheese. I already had these pickled onions on hand and was cooking multiple dishes for a crowd, so I was all about cutting corners.

It was a huge success at the family BBQ.  Since I needed to bring an appetizer to an engagement party the following weekend, I thought I would try making everything from scratch.  I was also dealing with food allergies and wanted to make a gluten-free version of the pizza dough.  This recipe for pizza dough on Shutterbean looked easy and amazing (seriously, click over and you’ll start drooling), so I thought I would try to make it with gluten-free baking mix.

I thought I had my content for the Store or Scratch post in the bag.

At this point, I should mention that bread and dough are my baking Achilles’s heel.  For some reason, I always buy dead yeast and my breads don’t rise.  Sometimes I can make it seem unintentional (unleavened bread has its place, right?), but for the most part it’s disappointing.  In the case of pizza dough, it’s just ruined.

I had two balls of crumbly flour and water that broke apart in clumps instead of stretching out.  I would have taken a picture if I wasn’t so pissed.  I’d already thrown out two batches of cupcakes (one burnt, one a weird gummy texture), and this third disaster may have resulted in a few tears and swear words.

So, after this epic fail, which option did I choose?

basil and brie flatbread closeup

I thought about giving up.  I’d already spent half of one of the most beautiful days of the year in San Francisco inside.  Hardly Strictly Bluegrass was happening in the park, which is practically a holiday in the city.  My friends had been drinking beer in the sunshine, and I wanted to join them.  My friend I was cooking for would be disappointed but understand if I didn’t bring what I had promised.

But somehow I couldn’t completely give up.  I wanted to make these things for her and for this blog.  I wanted to redeem myself… to myself.  I know no one else would care, but for me cooking is a source of pride.  I felt wounded.

I thought about starting the three-hour dough-making process over again, and hoping it would work the second time around.  And then I realized that would be insane.  I wanted to be outside, I wanted to hear music, and I wanted to be with my friends.  Given my track record, it wouldn’t work the second time either.  Albert Einstein would be calling me loony toons.

Albert Einstein definition of crazy is doing the same thing expecting different results

So I did something different.  I met up with my friends in the park.  I am the first to admit I was in a horrible mood, but it was still nice to be outside on a beautiful day, listening to music.  I stayed for a few hours and then went back to finish what I’d started.

I went to the store and bought pre-made pizza dough, which was sadly not gluten-free but I had to make sacrifices if I was going to try this again.  I warned my GF friend that she couldn’t eat the appetizer and brought a dip for her to eat.  I finished making the flat bread in under 30 minutes, watched some guilty pleasure television, and got a good night’s sleep.  I woke up feeling a million times better.

basil and brie flatbread on plate

Choosing to try something again and change your approach requires both perseverance and surrender.  You have to let go of your expectation of how something is going to go or turn out, and have the courage to feel OK with something different.

I still got a blog post out of it, just not the one I expected.  The flat bread was a hit, and no one but me and my GF friend knew the difference.  It all turns out fine in the end.

One day I’ll perfect the art of gluten-free pizza crusts.  But I’ve accepted the fact that  maybe I won’t, and there is great store-bought pizza dough waiting for me when I need it.

Note: You can buy gluten-free pizza crusts at Whole Foods and Bob’s Red Mill makes a GF pizza dough mix, but I’ve tried neither.  Let me know if you have any good resources for GF pizza dough or recipes that are completely foolproof (I can’t guarantee that it will survive my curse).

So here is an awesome appetizer that comes together in minutes and will totally impress.

basil and brie flatbread last bite

Basil and Brie Flatbread

Print or email the recipe here.

Serves 20

  • 1 store-bought pizza dough
  • white bean basil hummus (about 3/4 cup) (store-bought or make your own)
  • brie cheese
  • pickled red onions, or thinly sliced fresh red onions
  • fresh rosemary or basil, chopped, for garnish

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Remove pizza dough from bag and allow to rest for 20 minutes.

Add a tablespoon of olive oil to a baking sheet, spread to coat.

Place the dough on the sheet, greasing one side and then flipping it over so that both sides are coated with oil. Add more olive oil if necessary.

Stretch pizza dough to the length of the pan. If it shrinks back after you stretch it, let the dough sit for 10 minutes and then try stretching it again (after “relaxing”, the dough should be more pliable).

Spread hummus over the dough all the way to the edges. Evenly sprinkle the brie cheese over the pizza dough. The cheese doesn’t need to completely cover the dough, there can be 1/4 to 1/2 inch in between pieces of cheese. Scatter onions on top of the pizza.

Bake for 15 minutes, until the edges of the flatbread are golden and the brie cheese is completely melted and is browning.

Let cool, and slice into small pieces. Garnish with chopped rosemary or basil after plating.

Can be served warm or at room temperature.

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12 thoughts on “{How to Handle an Epic Fail} Basil and Brie Flatbread

  1. I once made 3 batches of buttercream in a row that melted while whipping because it was over 100 degrees, before I gave up and went to Safeway for some Duncan Hines. For a 3 year olds birthday. Einstein would have a field day on that one.

    You flatbread ended up looking fantastic anyway.

    • It’s amazing how long we can keep pushing doing the same thing before we give up! It did indeed turn out fantastic, or so I hear. I was so bitter I didn’t want to eat any of it! 😛

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