‘It’s nothing new, but baked cheese is damn delicious,’ says Rebekah Peppler
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“And if you’re doing it in a setting where you don’t want to share dishes, you can do it in individual portions and bake them individually, and give each guest their own pot. So you’re not double-dipping into it.”
Peppler gives her baked Camembert a Basque touch with a final drizzle of gently spiced piment d’Espelette oil. Also known as gorria pepper , piment d’Espelette is a fruity chili grown in the Basque Country , a region straddling the France-Spain border. If you can’t find it, try hot paprika.
One 4- to 5-inch (10 to 12 cm) wheel Camembert, cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces
8 pitted dates, torn into pieces
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
Piment d’Espelette Oil (recipe follows) or chili oil, for drizzling
Crackers or crusty bread, for serving
Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
Tuck the Camembert pieces into a 4- to 5-inch (10 to 12 cm) ovenproof baking dish and add the dates in the spaces between the cheese. Sprinkle with thyme and bake until the cheese is bubbling, 25 to 30 minutes. Drizzle with the piment d’Espelette oil and serve with crackers or crusty bread.
Serves: 4 to 6
PIMENT D’ESPELETTE OIL
1/2 cup (120 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp piment d’Espelette (see note)
In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, heat the oil until just warmed. Remove the pan from the heat, add the piment d’Espelette and stir to combine. Set aside to cool and infuse. The oil will keep at room temperature in a tightly sealed container for 1 month.
Makes: 1/2 cup (120 mL)
Note: Piment d’Espelette (a.k.a. Gorria pepper) is a gently spiced chili grown in the Basque Country, a region straddling the France-Spain border. You can buy it at specialty shops or online (e.g., Épices de Cru sells Quebec-grown Gorria pepper). “If you really need to substitute,” Peppler writes, “use the best hot paprika you can find.”
Recipe and image reprinted from À Table by Rebekah Peppler © 2021. Reproduced by permission of Chronicle Books. All rights reserved.