One of my favorite things to do at Whole Foods is browse their cheese selection (especially when they are offering samples!). Before Christmas I picked up two really great cheeses. One was Yodeling Goat Gouda and the other Herve Mons Camembert, made exclusively for Whole Foods. I ate enjoyed both over the course of the Christmas holiday. I swear, I could subsist on cheese, fruit, french bread and wine.
I tried the camembert as a change from my standby brie. As I was brainstorming about how I wanted to serve it, I figured it had to be great baked since baked brie is always such a hit. A quick consult with Google confirmed my idea and I was especially excited to learn that most recipes recommended baking it in the wooden box it comes in. This made for really simple preparation since no wrapping in puff pastry was required and I thought the presentation was really nice and rustic.
I borrowed ideas from a few different recipes and ended up rubbing the cheese with garlic, drizzling with honey and tucking in rosemary before I baked it. The cheese gets really soft and bubbly in the oven and mellows out a bit. I loved the contrast of the garlic and honey along with the earthiness of the rosemary. You could get creative here and really use whatever you have on hand. I am sure that maple syrup, agave, brown sugar or preserves would work as a sweetener and I did see some other recipes that called for thyme as the herb. I just really love fresh rosemary. I also want to try this topped with baked apple or pear slices.
I served my cheese with assorted crackers, apricot preserves and thinly sliced apples but again, you can get creative here. This would be absolutely amazing with a baguette or crostini and any fruit or preserve would work to accompany the cheese.
I can’t stress how much I recommend this for a switch up to your normal cheese plate. It would be perfect for a New Year’s Eve gathering and I promise you that it will be a crowd pleaser.
Baked Camembert with Garlic, Honey and Rosemary
(Recipe inspired by Epicurious with lots of customization)
1 wheel of camembert, wax/plastic packaging removed, box reserved
1 garlic clove, smashed
2 tablespoons honey
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove camembert from box and discard any wax paper or plastic wrapping. Using a serrated knife, carefully slice off the top rind of the cheese, leaving sides and bottom in tact. Diagonally scored the cheese. Rub surface with smashed garlic clove and tuck a few pieces into the scores. Drizzle with honey and tuck rosemary sprigs into scores. Carefully place back inside of wooden box and place in oven with a square of aluminum foil underneath to catch any drips or bubbling over.
Bake for about 12-15 minutes or until cheese is starting to brown and bubble. Remove from oven and serve with accompaniments of your choosing.
Yield: 4-6 servings