Wednesday, July 10, 2013

3 Camembert Appetizers

If you've made your own Camembert, perhaps from Jim Wallaces's recipe, the chances are you've made it again and again.  It's just tooooo good and tooooo easy to make.

After you've made it a couple hundred times, you have probably come up with at least one fabulous recipe to show off your cheese.  (If so, we would love to hear from you - just send your recipe and picture(s) to

I was recently thinking about Camembert recipes and what fabulous summer appetizers they make, particularly at outdoor weddings.  (The sun just makes the cheese even gooier than it already is.)  I found a few good ones you might like to try:

1. The recipe below came from Pham Fatale, created by Jackie Pham, a Vietnamese woman who was born in France and is married to an Indian man who was born in the US.  She has simple to make recipes from all around the world.

Canapes au Camembert (Camembert Tartlet Shells)
By Jacqueline Pham at Pham Fatale

Canapés au camembert are the perfect palate teasers. They have a flaky, buttery shell and are covered with a camembert sauce mornay, which is béchamel and some cheese. The key to a good homogenous spread is a ripe, gooey, aged cheese. The addition of mustard and a hint of red chili pepper make it slightly piquant.

You can serve them as appetizers, as a first course accompanied with a salad or bake in a large tart pan and serve it as a main course for a light lunch.

Making this dish took me back to my time in Paris just before I got married. I was working non-stop, and after work, my boss would often take me for dinner to a brasserie. We would always get some amuse-gueules to start our meal. Amuse, in French, means entertainment in a playful, casual way, and gueule is slang for mouth. Those wonderful appetizers were a perfect way to whet the appetite before a nice meaty main course. Amuse-bouches, like the canapés au camembert I made today, are just a more sophisticated name for the fare I had so often in those brasseries.


Yields: 12
6 ounces camembert, ripe
1 pinch red chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons coarse grain mustard
1/8 teaspoons white peppercorns, freshly ground
1 pinch nutmeg
1 cup half and half, warm, more if needed
3 cups all-purpose flour, + 2 tablespoons
1 egg
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced, + 2-1/2 tablespoons
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/3 cup water, cold
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon curly parsley, finely chopped, + for garnish


Preheat the oven to 375°F.

For the tartelette crust: In a bowl, whisk the egg with the sugar. Lightly oil the bowl of your food processor with a silicone brush. Then mix 3 cups of flour, 3/4 teaspoon of salt, garlic powder and cold water to form a dough. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled large bowl, add the egg mixture and 4 tablespoons of cold diced butter and the vegetable shortening. Knead the dough until it becomes smooth and homogenous. Cover with a towel and let stand until the sauce mornay is ready.

For the mornay sauce: Remove the crust of the camembert. In a saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium-low. Add the red chili powder and 2 tablespoons of flour. Whisk for approximately 2 minutes. The flour should absorb the butter instantly and form a paste. Add the warm half and half in 3 stages. Increase the heat while constantly stirring for about 5 minutes. Lower the heat to low. Add the remaining salt, mustard and nutmeg. Mix well, then add the camembert cheese and white pepper. Cover the sauce with the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of butter to keep it from forming a skin. Let the sauce cool completely.

Assembly time: Roll the tartlet dough using a rolling pin, about 1/4 to 1/2-inch thick. Create 1-1/2-inch disks of dough. Place the disks into individual mini-tartlet shells previously buttered (or in one 9-inch pie). Add about 2 teaspoons of mornay sauce in the molds. Bake for 20-22 minutes until slightly golden. Remove from the oven, repeat until all the dough is used.

Garnish with a little parsley. Serve warm.

Bon appétit!


You can substitute the usual store-bought puff pastry for this dough if you want to save time. The tartelette crust has a more flaky, buttery flavor (thanks to the use of vegetable shortening).

If you find camembert to be to strong to your taste, you can substitute brie for example, for a milder flavor.

If you have mornay sauce left-over, don't discard it. Just thin it with a little milk and use it as a sauce for your pasta.

This recipe yields a little more than 2 dozens tartlets.


2.  Note:  Savory Reviews by Rex Holmes is a huge website with 387 recipes, book reviews, restaurant reviews, a store and more.  You can even "Ask Rex" any cooking questions you have.

Camembert Asparagus Puffs
By Rex at Savory Reviews

(There are more pictures and directions for this here.

Recipe type: Appetizer
Serves: 24
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 15 mins
Total time: 30 mins

Quick cheesy pastry bites, perfect for any occasion!


    1 box puff pastry (two puff pastry sheets)
    1 small wheel Camembert cheese
    24 Asparagus spear tips
    1 egg


    Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
    Thaw two sheets of puff pastry. Then cut the pastry into 12 equal squares. Also whisk an egg in a small bowl and set aside.
    Wash and dry the asparagus spears. Then either cut off the tips and save. To save on some moolah you can use the whole spear cut into 1 inch sections, but I like the asparagus tips. What can I say, they are delicious!
    To form, spread out 1 square of puff pastry on a cookie sheet.
    Then coat the edges of the square with a light coating of the egg wash.
    The place a cube of Camembert cheese and a piece of asparagus on each square.
    Fold over the puff pastry and then using a fork, press the edges together to form a tight seal.
    Repeat for the remaining squares.
    Then using the remaining egg wash, coat the top of the pastry squares. The egg wash will give them a rich golden color when they are done.
    Place the pans in the oven and cook for 12-15 minutes or until the puff pastry is puffy and golden brown.
    Remove and let cool for a couple minutes before eating. This is an important step as the filling is like molten lava right out of the oven. No joke. Molten lava.
    Plate the puffs and serve with a nice honey mustard.


3.  The source of this recipe, Farine, is your go-to website for all recipes involving bread - even from Thanksgiving leftovers!  I think it is literally a baker's dream come true.

Camembert in a Sourdough Jacket
By MC at Farine (Crazy For Bread)

My niece Flo whose beautiful and passionate blog, Makanai, is a treasure trove for gourmets and gourmands of all ilks as well as a mine of information on food intolerances and ways of coping with them - in French, I know, but there is always Google Translator) recently called attention on her Facebook page to a most appealing and ingenious appetizer, Camembert rôti en croûte de pain (literally Camembert baked in a bread crust), posted by Cindy of Food for Thoughts.

Baked Bries or Camemberts are nothing new. But a French cheese baked inside a miche au levain (a sourdough boule), now, that's something I had yet to see. As luck would have it, we had just bought a pair of French Camemberts at Costco.

I had no boules in my freezer and no immediate prospect of baking one since my levain was still in reactivation mode after our long absence. However our local Trader Joe's came to the rescue once more: I found there a boule of just the right size, made exclusively of flour, water and salt. Perfect!

I followed the original recipe to a t (except that I didn't use sugar and that, having no garlic powder on hand, I just rubbed the inside of the hollowed-out miche with a fresh clove). I am not kidding myself that our baked Camembert was as flavorful as Cindy's. It did come from France but it wasn't made from raw unpasteurized milk, so it was certainly a good bit tamer than the one she was able to find in London. But it was still good enough that nobody seemed to mind (the bread was crisp on the outside and the cheese deliciously velvety and smokey-spicy). At least I imagine that's the reason why it vanished so fast. Thank you, Cindy, for this great idea! Just in time for holiday entertaining too...

Make sure the cheese fits inside the hollowed-out boule
but don't bake it with the wrapper still on!


    1 Camembert from France (preferably made from raw unpasteurized milk if available in the country where you live)
    1 small sourdough boule (not San Francisco sourdough though as the sourness might overpower the cheese)
    1 1/2 teaspoon chili powder (I used chipotle chili)
    1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (see above for possible substitution)
    1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
    1 tablespoon salted butter

Note: the original recipe also calls for 1/2 teaspoon of sugar but I didn't use any.

Don't you love the fragrance of garlic on fresh crumb?
To maximize it, split the clove in two


    Pre-heat the oven to 356°F/180° C (using convection if available)
    Cut off the top of the boule and set aside
    Hollow out the center of the boule and of the lid (making sure the Camembert easily fits into both)
    In a small bowl, mix chili, garlic powder (if using. If not using, rub the inside of the bread and of the lid with raw clove of garlic) and mustard powder
    Lightly butter the inside of the boule and of the lid
    Generously sprinkle the inside of the boule and of the lid with spice mixture
    Pre-cut the boule all around to make it easier to pull out croûtons later on (see picture)
    Scrape the Camembert all around, not forgetting the sides and bottom
    Place inside the hollowed boule, scatter rest of spice mixture over it
    Place the lid over the cheese making sure it fits the bottom snugly
    Bake in pre-heated oven for 30 minutes
    Let cool a few minutes before serving
(serve the top alongside so that guests can rip chunks of it to dip in the melted cheese when the sides of the boule are all eaten up).

Printable recipe

All dressed up and ready for the oven

The Camembert in a Sourdough Jacket goes to Stefanie whose marvelous blog, Hefe und mehr, is hosting this week's issue of Yeastspotting


Ingeborg said...

This is fantastic!

Jeri said...

Thank you! I think all Camembert appetizers are fantastic when you get right down to it!