Baked Camembert, the Perfect Starter

Baked Camembert, the Perfect Starter

What is more decadent than rich gooey camembert that’s been baked to perfection? It’s the savoury equivalent of a chocolate lava cake. The best part is, you don’t need a recipe, just the method to bake it. Any extras you want to add on as a recipe are just a bonus.

Does it have to be camembert?

If you don’t like camembert (really?) or you prefer a cheese with a stronger taste then brie is an excellent alternative. There are also plenty of other cheeses that can be baked. These include feta, provolone, raclette, goat’s cheeses, blue cheese, gruyere, the list goes on!

Baked camembert with pieces of fresh bread around it. Three glasses of wine sit in the background.
The criss-cross scoring allows the cheese to ooze out while baking

Lactose free camembert exits and it can be baked too!

My food-loving bestie is lactose intolerant so when I came up with the thought of a baked camembert for one of our meals I had to think of a solution.

Unlike some countries, lactose free products are not common in Australia. They are limited to being specialty products with only a few options. This is very different to Finland where most dairy products are lactose free by default. In fact, it’s really hard to find milk that isn’t lactose free in Finland!

Unicorn Cheese in New South Wales make a lactose free camembert that comes in a 125g round. While it’s not a big party sized portion it’s good for three to four serves. Or as a special item for the one or two lactose-free folk at your next event.

There’s no difference in taste or texture with lactose free cheese. The only change is the lactose molecules have been broken down in advance, making it easier to digest.

What do I need to make baked camembert?

The beauty of a baked camembert is that you really don’t need special equipment. Just an oven, and something to keep your gooey delicious cheese from making a mess.

I use a terracotta dish that I got from Aldi years ago (it came with cheese in it for baking actually!). If you don’t have a suitable dish you can make one using aluminium foil or baking paper.

In some cases you can also use the wooden box your camembert came in. Just be sure to remove any plastic packaging, stickers or barcodes first.

What toppings can I add to my baked camembert?

The options are endless when it comes to toppings on hot gooey cheese. While my photos are plain we served it alongside a fig and walnut jam, loaded with ginger. A few other ideas include

  • Honey, walnuts and fresh rosemary
  • Cherry jam and crushed or slivered almonds
  • Chopped mixed nuts
  • Cranberry sauce with pecans
  • Olive oil, pinenuts and rosemary
  • Fresh blackberries and thyme

It really is up to your imagination. Have a look in the fridge, anything you’d serve with cheese normally will go well baked. A chutney is a perfect option for a savoury tangy touch.

A piece of bread smeared with baked camembert and fig jam.
Fig jam is a delicious complement to the cheese

What should I serve with baked camembert?

The best things to serve with hot gooey cheese are things you can dip.

Personally I love fresh bread, even better if it’s home baked and still warm. We used a gorgeous fruit loaf by WellBread Bakery, bursting with figs, dates and walnuts. Crackers like lavosh are also good, but you can go a healthier route and have apple slices and carrot sticks.

Note: if anyone you are sharing with has allergies do not dip but instead scoop out the cheese. Alternatively, make all your dipping items allergy free / suitable for your friends.

Of course wine is also an excellent accompaniment!

Can I eat baked cheese during pregnancy?

Yes! The issue with some cheeses during pregnancy is in two parts. One is the use of unpasteurised (not heat treated) milk. This has the risk of carrying pathogens that can cause illness in yourself or your unborn child. The other is the risk of contamination after the product is made. This applies to cheeses and deli products that you may have also been warned about.

However, the process of thoroughly cooking cheese can kill any bacteria present. This makes it the safest option for enjoying your favourite cheeses.

If you are expecting I recommend extending the cooking time slightly and watching the oven. Look at the cheese and make sure it is bubbling, as if it is boiling. This way you will know it is fully heated through rather than lukewarm.

Easy Baked Camembert

Just the basics of what you need to do to prep and eat a delicious warming baked cheese.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Appetizer, Party Food
Cuisine French
Servings 4 serves

Equipment

  • Oven safe dish
  • Baking tray optional
  • Sharp knife

Ingredients
  

  • 1 whole Camembert or similar cheese such as Brie see notes for serving size
  • Toppings optional – see article above
  • Bread / crackers to serve

Instructions
 

  • Preheat your oven to 180C
  • Get yourself a baking dish that fits your cheese well, this can double up as a serving dish. Alternatively, make a bowl around your cheese using aluminium foil.
  • Using a sharp knife, score parallel lines across the length of the cheese about 0.5 cm deep (or 1/4 inch). Rotate the cheese and repeat so you end up with a diamond design.
  • If you have a baking tray, place the dish on a baking tray – this will make it easier to remove the tiny dish from the oven when it's hot.
  • Place the cheese in the oven for 20 minutes.
  • The cheese will be ready when it becomes soft and starts to bubble a little. If you want to check it, either pull out the tray or entire cheese and gently prod the cheese with a spoon to test it.
  • Once it's ready remove from the oven and allow to cool a moment before carefully transferring to a serving plate.
  • Serve with bread, dried fruits and honey.

Notes

Check out the article above the method for flavour ideas – my personal favourite is honey and fresh rosemary. 
Serving size is up to you. As a guide a 125g camembert is a good starter for three to four people, each having approximately 30g each (1 oz).
Keyword cheese

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