Baked Camembert, Roasted Garlic, Crusty Bread
To me, this is the ultimate (and very moreish) starter or sharer. There is something quite special about baking camembert with garlic and then dunking fresh crusty bread into it. If you love cheese (like me!) you need to try this! Such a simple recipe but, often made incorrectly, follow my recipe below for the perfect results every time.
Whole Boxed Camembert (see notes below)
Bulb of Garlic
Rosemary / Thyme (optional)
Rock Salt & Black Pepper
Ok, let's talk about Camembert! it's all about ripeness. “The riper the Camembert, the better the melt" If you try to bake a young chalky Camembert, you will not get a good melt.
So how do you know if a Camembert is ripe when your actually buying it in the supermarket? The Camembert should feel soft to touch, don't be afraid to open the box and test it. Another good test is the best before date. Generally, the cheese is at its best with about 10 days or less of shelf life. “Camembert continues to ripen in the store fridges and in our own fridges at home.”
Once you've selected your Camembert, take it out of the fridge a good 10-15 mins before cooking, and pre-heat your oven to 200c. Ideally use a terracotta cooking dish the same size as the Camembert, if you don't have one, just use the box. Take the Camembert, and using a sharp knife, carefully cut the rind off the top, so your just left with the cheese.
With a knife make small incisions into the top of the Camembert, take your bulb of garlic, peel and crush 4 cloves, and insert these into the gaps you made earlier. Drizzle with a good amount of olive oil, season with rock salt and pepper and add your herbs (optional) thyme, lemon thyme or rosemary work well here.
Place your terracotta cooking dish on a baking tray, and bake at 200c for 18-20 mins. the baked Camembert is ready when it's just starting to bubble over and is gooey in the centre with a good crust.
Enjoy with a good French Baguette, and maybe a glass of wine (or two!)