This weeks is all about cheese, only one of my favourite things to eat. I’m not a snob when it comes to it- I love almost every kind, in almost every form. Growing up, there was always a few different cheese varieties in our fridge (popular Greek ones, Stilton, parmesan and often a French one); that’s still the case with my fridge. I stock up on cheese almost every week and even though I don’t discriminate, I’ve noticed that here in London, I’m quite partial to French varieties.
I love all the different textures, shapes and smells, constantly on the look out for different pairings and inspiring combinations. Every so often, I develop a crush on a newly-discovered cheese, but camembert is a constant favourite: it always looks so pretty, has two lovely textures and the smell- oh my, this may be the main reason I love it so much.
Although I also enjoy camembert as is, my favourite way to serve (and eat) it is baked: popped in the oven for a few minutes, the skin is only slightly hardened, while the inside is perfectly melted and bubbly, ready for non-stop dipping. This is my version of this Waitrose recipe, only barely tweaked- I first came across it just before Christmas and I’ve since made it a couple times. It’s the perfect snack and an even better appetizer for a party: so easy to prepare and ready in under half hour- and yet such a stunner, with the beautiful, oozing cheese and all the surrounding trimmings.
The Fribois I used is quite salty and strong, so a good drizzle of sweet honey and some fresh and dried fruit are the ideal company for it: sweet and juicy fresh blush pears, dried figs for their lovely texture and earthy flavour and lastly a handful of toasted, slightly caramel-like pecan for crunchiness. Just do it.
1 box camembert
a few rosemary springs (the original recipe calls for thyme; I used rosemary instead, as I prefer its flavour, but in hindsight, I would stick with the thyme and its more delicate and soft leaves)
2-3 blush pears, washed
1 1/2 cups dried figs, stems removed, some cut in half and some left whole
1/2 cup pecans
a good drizzle of honey
Preheat the oven to 190C.
Take the camembert out of the box, remove the wrapper and sticker and put back in the box, placing the lid underneath for extra support.
Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper; with a sharp knife, make slits at the centre of the cheese, and push the rosemary leaves inside. Bake for 15-20′, until the centre is softened and bubbly.
5′ minutes before removing from the oven, scatter the pecans on the baking tray next to the cheese and lightly toast, taking care not to burn them.
Remove the cheese and nuts out of the oven, let cool slightly and place on a cheese board or serving platter.
Generously drizzle the top with some honey and serve with the pears (cored and cut in thick slices), dried figs, pecans and some plain cheese crackers.