An excellent, and easy starter - even without the port and cranberries.
You can flavour the cheese as you like; white wine and garlic are popular, but other liquors, herbs and spices are available.
Pesto is not unheard of, or fruit - strawberries and balasamic vinegar for example.
Score slits or a cross in the top of the cheese to allow the flavours to penetrate. Or you can completely remove the top rind if you prefer.
Baked Camembert with Port and Cranberries
You can bake any decent soft cheese that comes in a box, Camembert obviously, but Vacherin Mont d'Or is good around Christmas.
Just be sure it's nice and ripe or it'll turn weird and curdled instead of runny and gooey.
They say you should only use pasteurised cheese, but I'm not sure that's as important as the ripeness thing.
Be sure to only use a stapled box, not a glued one which will most definitely fall apart in the oven.
Beware of over-cooking the cheese, beyond a certain point (around the half-hour mark)
it won't get any more runny but will start to harden up again.
- 1 ripe Camembert or other soft cheese
- 1 garlic clove, cut into long slices
- 1 tblsp dry white wine, Vermouth, brandy, or kirsch
- a few sprigs thyme leaves
- handful dried cranberries
- few sprigs rosemary
- French bread or toast
- sliced ham
- steamed potatoes
Pre-heat the oven to 177°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4 and put in a baking sheet.
Cover the cranberries with port in a ramekin and throw in a few rosemary leaves.
Remove any packaging from the cheese and put it back in the (stapled) box. Put the box into the upturned lid too, for extra support.
Make slits in the top of the cheese (or remove the top rind all together) and push garlic slices inside.
Sprinkle over a few thyme leaves and pour over the wine or liquor.
Put the ramekin and the cheese on the baking sheet and bake for 15-25 minutes until the cheese is browned on the outside and runny inside.
Add more port to the ramekin if it starts to dry out. Fish out the rosemary leaves before serving.
Serve with your accompaniment(s) of choice.