Thursday, December 8, 2011

Baked Camembert with Cherry Jam and Croutons

Baked Camembert with Cherry Jam and Croutons. Photo by Steve Shanahan

First published Canberra Times 7 December 2011.

This is one of those very simple, but incredibly tasty dishes that everyone loves.  I picked this recipe up a few years ago in France and now trot it out when entertaining friends and family. It is a great appetizer for anytime of the year, but it is particularly suited for Christmas entertaining.  Serve this one with Champagne, French of course!

1 large Camembert, in a wooden box
1 loaf of rustic Italian Bread
zest of 1 orange
4 cloves garlic
8 thin sheets of prosciutto, torn into rough strips
handful of black olives
a few sprigs of rosemary, sage and thyme
extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
dollop of good quality cherry jam

Preheat the oven to 200C.

Unwrap the Camembert and place it back into its own wooden lid. Cut a cross into the top of the Camembert and place a dollop of the cherry jam on top. Place on a baking tray. If you can’t find Camembert in a box, you can heat the cheese on an ovenproof dish.

With your hands, tear the bread into large rustic chunks and place them on a low sided baking tray. Add the pared zest of the orange, the smashed cloves of garlic in their skins, the strips of prosciutto, the olives and the herbs.

Drizzle the croutons liberally with a good quality olive oil, and season well with pepper.

Place the Camembert and the croutons in the oven and bake for about fifteen minutes, tossing the croutons a couple of times until golden.

Serve the Camembert in its box, and a pile of croutons on the side