Baked camembert with toppings, a thing of great beauty, or at least it is if you love cheese as much as I do! This molten, cheesy loveliness, makes a great sharing starter for four or a simple rustic dinner for two.
What I love about this dish is how quickly it can be cooked and on the table. It takes minutes to prepare and only 20 minutes to cook!
This is one of those dishes that is easily sized up or down. Serving a larger group of people, simply cook one or two extra rounds of cheese!
There is something really very comforting about dipping crusty bread into a hot, molten cheese. This really is the perfect comfort food for this time of year.
Even better when you wash it down with a glass of wine. Red wine would be my choice here, followed very closely by a glass of port!
WHAT IS CAMEMBERT CHEESE?
Camembert cheese is a soft, smooth textured cheese with a bloom rind, made from cows milk. It originates from Normandy in France.
Similar in texture to brie, but whereas brie has a creamier, more refined flavour and texture due to its higher fat content; camembert has a more rustic, earthy flavour.
It’s worth noting that you can also bake brie using this same method!
CAN I BAKE CAMEMBERT IN ITS WOODEN BOX?
There is no need for fancy equipment, camembert can be baked in the wooden box that it comes in. However, ensure that you remove all the plastic wrapping from the cheese first.
You can also buy ceramic dishes for baking your camembert in, I was lucky enough to receive one as a gift. Again just remove any packaging from the cheese, place it in the dish and pop it into the oven. I use a small tapas dish with is perfect for this, the terracotta retains the heat and keeps the cheese runny for longer.
HOW TO BAKE CAMEMBERT?
Baking this cheese is a lot easier to than you might first think. Remove the plastic packaging, pop it back into the wooden box, make a couple of slits in the top and add your flavourings. Then pop it into the oven to bake for 20-30 minutes.
Prepare all your ingredients, remove the camembert cheese from its box and remove any plastic wrapping. Then pop the cheese back into it’s wooden box ready for baking!
Cut slits along the top of the cheese, taking care not to cut the whole way through!
Cutting the slits in the top allows any steam to escape. It is through these slits that you can also flavour your cheese with a variety of flavour toppings!
Next push the fresh thyme and almond flakes into the top of the cheese.
Finally top with the dried cranberries and a splash of Cointreau and pop into the oven to bake for 20-30 minutes, until the cheese is gooey in the centre.
HOW TO CHECK THAT THE CHEESE IS COOKED?
The best way to check that the camembert is baked, it to lightly press the top of the cheese. If it is cooked it will be feel fluid to the touch.
You want to take it out at this point while the cheese is gooey. Cook it any longer and the cheese will overcook and start to harden up again!
BAKED CAMEMBERT TOPPING IDEAS:
We have kept it simple with our baked camembert and have used a combination of fresh thyme, dried cranberries, flaked almonds and a splash of Cointreau to add that little bit of extra luxury in the flavour stakes!
Baked camembert topping ideas:
- Herbs: thyme; rosemary
- Vegetable flavouring: garlic; caramelised onion, chilli flakes
- Fruit flavouring: fresh figs; dried cranberries; raisins
- Jams & chutneys: onion jam; chilli jam; cranberry chutney; spiced apple chutney; fig jam; cranberry jelly
- Oils: olive oil; truffle oil; chilli oil
- Sweet: runny honey
- Alcohol: brandy; apple brandy; white wine, vermouth
WHAT TO SERVE WITH BAKED CAMEMBERT?
I like to keep things simple and serve crusty bread with this molten cheese. Baguette, ciabatta and sourdough all work well with this dish.
Alongside I also like to include some pickles, with pickled silverskin onions and cornichons being my particular favourites.
In terms of fruit and vegetables I also enjoy dipping sticks of celery and slices of sharp green apple, fresh figs and grapes into this cheese.
Runny honey to drizzle over the top is delicious, cheese and honey are a beautiful flavour pairing!