Hi friends! Welcome to the calm before the holiday storm.
We are OFFICIALLY about .259 clicks away from a holy trifecta of holiday insanity.
I don’t know about you, but I’m having a hard time processing the fact that Christmas and Hanukkah will be here in TWO days, and Kwanzaa is only THREE days away!
Hopefully chestnuts are roasting on an open fire, your halls are decked with boughs of holly, and your stockings are hung by the chimney with care, because it’s time to do a little rocking around the Christmas tree… I just hope your grandma doesn’t get run over by a reindeer.
⬆ I apologize for my lame humor, but I’ve been up since 3 a.m. Lack of sleep combined with nonstop Christmas jingles have me feeling a little loony.
Anyways, we are going to dive right into things today, because I know you guys have places to go, people to see and cookies to eat.
Baked Camembert with Cranberry & Orange Compote
Warm, ooey-gooey hunk-a-hunk-a cheesy, cheesy love goin’ on righ-cheer.
Because, it’s just not the holidays without copious amounts of cheese, right!? RIGHT!
This hors d’oeuvre is the holly jolly bomb-diggity of appetizers, my friends.
Warm, oozy, creamy, rich and decadent cheese topped with juicy, tart cranberries mixed with citrusy, fresh orange zest and herbaceous thyme.
One word – DROOL-FEST. (<-or is that two words? )
Normally baked brie is my holiday cheese of choice, but this year I decided to go with a funky upgrade – camembert.
In case you aren’t familiar with camembert, here is a little 411.
Camembert and brie are both soft-ripening cow’s milk cheeses. And, in this recipe you can certainly use brie if you prefer. The only real difference is camembert is a stronger flavored cheese and has a runnier inside texture, which I adore.
Now that we have our bases covered, let’s talk about how quick and easy this whole shabam of cheesy festive fun goes down.
First, you heat some brandy and sugar in a pan and add half the cranberries. Cook those babies until they burst, then add the remaining cranberries and bring to a boil.
You want to add the cranberries in two stages, so half the cranberries get saucy and the other half stay juicy and plump. It’s all about the texture, folks.
Next stir in the orange zest and thyme. Viola – compote done.
While the compote is working, simply score the top of the camembert and transfer it to a small baking dish. Pour on a bit of brandy (notice a theme here?), olive oil and salt. Bake until the cheese is scrumptiously soft.
All that is left to do is serve that beauty up. Top the cheese with the compote and serve with crackers or a baguette.
Boom. Ridiculously easy, yet exceptionally elegant.
- As I mentioned before, if you can’t find, or simply don’t want to use camembert, you can substitute brie cheese.
- I baked the camembert right in its wooden box. You still need to place the box onto a baking dish though. Also, make sure you score the top of the cheese with a paring knife. I scored mine in a crosshatch pattern.
- I used fresh cranberries, but you can substitute frozen if that is what you have on hand.
- The cranberry compote can be made up to 5 days in advance. Simple cover and store in the refrigerator. When you are ready to use, bring the compote to room temperature before serving. Or, if you want a warm compote, place the compote in a small saucepan over low heat until desired temperature is achieved.
Give the gift of giving and add this impressive Baked Camembert with Cranberry-Orange Compote to your holiday menu.
I will be taking Monday off to observe the holiday, but I’ll be back on Thursday with a recipe round up.
Until then, from my NSN kitchen to yours, Happy Christmahanukwanzika, dear friends! May your Holiday sparkle with moments of love, laughter and cheer!
- ¼ Cup Brandy
- ¼ Cup Granulated Sugar
- 8 ounces Fresh Cranberries*, divided
- 1 Orange – zested (about 1 TBS packed)
- 1 tsp Fresh Thyme, packed
- Kosher Salt & Fresh Ground Black Pepper
- 8 ounce round of Camembert
- 1 TBS Brandy
- 1 TBS Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- For Serving: Crackers, Baguette Slices, Walnuts, Grapes
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- For the Cranberries: In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, cook brandy and sugar, stirring occasionally. Bring to a boil. Add half of the cranberries and cook, stirring frequently, until the cranberries burst, about 5-6 minutes. Add in the remaining cranberries and bring to a boil. Immediately remove the pan from heat and stir in the orange zest and thyme. Season to taste with a pinch of salt. Set aside, uncovered, to cool to room temperature.
- For the Baked Camembert: Score the top of the camembert in a crosshatch pattern with a paring knife. Transfer to a small baking dish. In a small bowl combine the brandy, oil and a pinch of salt. Pour mixture over cheese. Bake until cheese is very soft, about 15-20 minutes. Spoon any liquid over the cheese and let rest to firm up slightly, about 5 minutes.
- To Serve: Spoon cranberry mixture over cheese and serve with crackers, baguette slices and optional cheese board garnishes.
2. I baked the camembert right in its wooden box. You still need to place the box onto a baking dish though. Also, make sure you score the top of the cheese with a paring knife. I scored mine in a crosshatch pattern.
3. I used fresh cranberries, but you can substitute frozen if that is what you have on hand.
4. The cranberry compote can be made up to 5 days in advance. Simple cover and store in the refrigerator. When you are ready to use, bring the compote to room temperature before serving. Or, if you want a warm compote, place the compote in a small saucepan over low heat until desired temperature is achieved.
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