You can also use another soft cheese such as a Brie.
"Camembert is a soft, ripened cow's milk cheese that has a white, downy rind and smooth, creamy interior that oozes ever so slightly when cut. At Biró Restaurant and Wine Bar, we use Champignon Camembert in this simply elegant appetizer. I love the way the rich flavor and texture of the Camembert is balanced with the slightly sweet yet tart acidity of red currant or extra black currant preserves. German preserves are of exceptional quality and have a fresh, fruity flavor. You could use any brand and experiment with the flavors of your choice, such as a raspberry-red currant blend, black cherry, or any other sweet-tart jam. I'm a big fan of the Schwartau brand."
-- Chef Marcel Biró
Champignon Camembert comes in 4.5-ounce rounds, and you could serve one round per guest, or slice each round into wedges. Topped with a dollop of the preserves and a bit of parsley, these also make the ideal finger food for a dinner party or cocktail reception. Simply cut the round into wedges before breading and then proceed with the recipe. It's also an excellent choice for special occasion brunches such as Mother's Day or Graduations.
Region Baked Camembert
- 4 rounds Camembert cheese 4.5 ounces each
- 2 cups flour
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 2 cups plain breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 8 ounces German red currant preserves
- parsley for garnish
Recipe adapted for germanfoods.org by Chef Marcel Biró from the book Biró: European-Inspired Cuisine (Gibbs Smith 2005).
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Place the flour in a shallow dish. In a second shallow dish, whip the eggs and milk to create an eggwash. Place the bread crumbs in a third shallow dish.
Dredge the first round of Camembert in the flour and make certain it's completely coated. Remove the Camembert and tap off all excess flour. Place the floured round into the eggwash. Completely cover it with egg. Remove the Camembert from the eggwash, gently shaking it to remove any excess, and place it in the bowl containing the breadcrumbs. Completely cover the round in breadcrumbs and then remove it from the dish, tapping the cheese to remove all excess breadcrumbs. Repeat the process with the round so that it is double-breaded, and then repeat the entire process with the remaining rounds of Camembert. Place the breaded rounds in the refrigerator while you prepare the pan for sautéing. It is important that you move quickly, as you do not want the breadcrumbs to get soggy.
Melt the olive oil and butter in a medium sauté pan over high heat. Remove the first Camembert round from the refrigerator and place it in the hot sauté pan. Sauté it on each side until light golden brown, about 1 minute each side. Repeat the process with the remaining rounds.
Place the rounds into your preheated oven and cook until the Camembert softens, 5 to 7 minutes.
Meanwhile, place the preserves in a medium sauté pan and warm over high heat.
Why double-bread? Delicate items are coated with breadcrumbs prior to sautéing or baking so that they maintain their shape and appearance during the cooking process. With items that melt during cooking, such as Camembert, double-breading is crucial. Why? Any uncoated surface area provides a "door" through which the item could escape into the pan or baking dish. Many people are therefore tempted to load on the flour, eggwash, and breadcrumbs in one step, which results in uneven breading, an unpleasant appearance, and a floury, scrambled eggs flavor that detracts from the flavor of the breaded item.
Double-breading is a much better alternative, as you build up two layers of light breading that will properly seal the item without masking its flavor. While double-breading, it's important to keep your fingers as clean as possible, as eggwash left on your fingers pulls off the breadcrumbs during handling. It may take a bit of practice to master double-breading, but trust me, it's worth it. You don't want to lose even one drop of Camembert in this recipe.
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