At the time of this writing, the sap has begun to flow. In spite of the odd winter we have had, maple syrup producers say they are expecting a good season. Here in Vermont, maple syrup is a tradition, one that extends far beyond the breakfast table.
If you like entertaining, we are certain that the following classy, yet easy to prepare appetizer will delight you and your dining guests. Actually, you may want to serve it on special occasions even when no guests are coming to dinner; when celebrating a personal accomplishment for instance.
One Camembert will serve two as an appetizer before a meal. For a more consistent snack, plan on serving one per person. On a buffet table, allow one for every three guests. One baguette should suffice to serve four.
1 Boxed Camembert (9 oz)
Sea salt to taste
Black pepper to taste
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 Sprig rosemary
1 Baguette, sliced or cubed
Choice of fruit, sliced or cubed
1- Bring the Camembert to room temperature. If it was refrigerated, leaving it out of the fridge for about 30 minutes should do the trick.
2- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
3- Remove the Camembert from its box and unwrap it. Slice the top rind off. Be careful to not cut into the side rind.
4- Return Camembert to its box, cut-side up.
5 – Line a baking sheet with grease-proof paper and place the Camembert box (or boxes) in the center.
6- Sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper. Some people prefer to use pepper only.
7- Drizzle with maple syrup. Some people also drizzle with about a tablespoon of olive oil.
8- Garnish with rosemary sprig.
9- Bake until the cheese is melted inside. This will take about 20 minutes.
To serve, dip slices of baguette and fruit directly into the center of the Camembert. You have two options here, depending on the mood of the meal. If you are serving a formal meal, cube the baguette and fruit and use a fondue fork. If serving a snack amongst friends, or buffet style, slice the baguette and fruit, forgo the fondue fork and boldly use your fingers. Just remember these simple instructions to George, in a memorable Seinfeld scene at a buffet table: “When you dip, dip once and end it.”
Variation: Toast the baguette slices or cubes in the oven before serving.
Take some bread home: White, Wheat, Maple-Wheat, Rye, Multi-Grain, Honey-Oat, Cinnamon-Raisin and, of course, Baguettes.