On Thanksgiving it takes so much energy to get all the main dishes to the table that I try not to worry too much about appetizers. Do we really need to provide our guests with something to eat before we eat? Hosting etiquette says we do, and I understand that it’s part of the food-centric celebration. I also understand that appetizers for such a large meal are best kept simple. For that reason, I have two rules when it comes to the dips and spreads I set out before Thanksgiving dinner: they have to call for very few ingredients, and they can’t require precious oven space.

This fun take on a cheese plate satisfies both of these requirements and has a couple of other perks as well—it serves a crowd and looks like something that belongs on a Pinterest board. And, best of all, it only takes minutes to prepare, so you’ll still have time to tend to the rest of your menu.

Brie “Layer Cake”

Serves 16

You can also use just one round of brie and have two layers instead of four. In that case, use one-third of the honey (or jam) and almonds called for in the recipe below.

2 (7-ounce) rounds brie
6 teaspoons honey or jam of your choice
¼ cup Marcona almonds, chopped
Crackers or baguette

1. Holding chef’s knife horizontal to counter, score each cheese round halfway up side, holding your knife in place while rotating cheese. Continue turning, adding more pressure to knife, until cheese is divided into two rounds. Repeat with remaining round so you are left with four layers.

2. Spread 2 teaspoons honey or jam over three layers, leaving one uncovered. Sprinkle almonds evenly over honey- or jam-covered layers. Stack three covered layers on top of each other, then top with uncovered layer. Slice into wedges and serve with crackers or baguette.

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