Puff pastry baked–Camembert with quince and roasted garlic
This is one of the many enticing recipes in The Orchard Cook, a beautifully illustrated book I was sent by photographer and food writer Stuart Ovenden and which provides inspiring ideas as to what to do with autumnal fruits such as apples, pears and quince.
Stuart writes: "This is pretty much cheese-lovers’ nirvana; cutting open a baked Camembert is one of those moments that compels a collective gasp around the table, before a quick clamour to find a suitable means of damming the tide of melted cheese. The roasted garlic cloves can be squeezed and spread onto toast before diving in.
For the quince poached in sugar syrup:
2 large quinces, peeled, cored and halved lengthways
juice of ½ lemon
For the baked Camembert:
250g whole Camembert
375g pack puff pastry
1 quince poached in sugar syrup
1 egg, beaten
1 garlic bulb, roasted
4 slices toasted sourdough
1 For the poached quince, tip the fruit into a medium-sized pan and cover with the water. Stir in the sugar, honey and lemon juice, then bring to a simmer. Keep on the heat for 60-90 minutes, or until the quinces and syrup have turned pink – cooking time will vary depending on the quinces. Leave to cool and transfer with the syrup, into a large sterilized jar.
2 Heat the oven to 200C (180C fan), Gas 6. Lightly flour your work surface and roll the pastry out to a 5mm thickness. Cut out two circles; the base should be about the size of a saucer (the cheese needs to have about a 2-3cm gap all the way round), while the top should be the size of a dinner plate.
3 Lay your hand flat on top of the Camembert and use a serrated knife to carefully cut the cheese in half horizontally (a bit like how you’d cut a cake in half). Slice the quince and arrange evenly on top of the bottom half of the cheese. Put the top lid of the cheese back on. At this point it’s a good idea to use a sharp knife to trim the sharp-edged top of the rind off, so that the cheese has a nice dome shape when covered.
4 Cover an oven-proof tray with a sheet of baking parchment. Put the smaller pastry circle in the middle, then carefully place the filled-cheese on top. Brush the exposed pastry at the base with egg, then lift the pastry lid on. Shape the pastry around the cheese with your hands, then use a fork to pinch the pastry seam together and create a seal. Brush with egg, scatter some poppy seeds over the top and bake for 25 minutes until golden. Serve with roasted garlic cloves and toasted sourdough.
What to drink: A tricky one, this, depending a bit on whether you're serving it as a supper dish or as an alternative to a cheese course or dessert. If it's the former I'd be tempted to go for a good artisanal cider, an amber/orange wine or a Roussanne-based Rhône or Languedoc white. With the latter you could drink a Pommeau or other apple aperitif or digestif or even a 10 year old tawny port.
For other ideas see What to Pair with Camembert
Extracted from The Orchard Cook by Stuart Ovenden, published by Clearview at £25.
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