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Culinary autodidacts like learning in solitude.  Few of them are total freelancers.  Guides go with them into the kitchen.  But they are guides of the most reticent sort–a recipe…a cookbook…instructors that only ‘speak’ by invitation.  Perhaps for this reason cooking is, for many people–at one and the same time–a relaxing pastime and a thing of engrossing interest.  There is much to learn, sources aplenty to learn from, in a kitchen filled with the quiet that makes room for thinking.

To make Iced Camembert is to spend some time in the kitchen, in spirit, with a lady who for many years instructed Americans in the ways of French cooking–Dione Lucas.  This version of Iced Camembert doesn’t adhere strictly to her guidelines, and that is as it should be, for cooking isn’t just about imitation. One may begin with a recipe not of one’s own devising, but the end result is personal.  Individual tastes, style, and experience build on recipes and in this way, people turn into cooks.

This cheese and wine spread comes in two versions. They might be served jointly, singly, or…you might have another idea altogether for how to eat it–sandwiched in a grape, on a leaf of endive…

There is some of the autodidact in every cook.

Iced Camembert and White Wine with Seeded Crackers and Toast Points (makes about 1 cup)

Note: To print this recipe, or any other diplomatickitchen recipe, go to the bottom of the page, at the end of the post, and click on the icon: Print & PDF.

Ingredients for the Cheese Spread:

  • 8 ounces of Camembert, with the rind left on
  • 1/4 cup of dry White Wine
  • 1/4 cup of Heavy Cream
  • a pinch of Cayenne Pepper
  • several grindings of fresh Black Pepper and Salt
  • 2 Tablespoons of fine, dry white Breadcrumbs
  • 1/3 cup chopped, salted Pistachios

Additional Ingredients for Way I:

  • Seeded Crackers
  • an additional 1/8 cup of chopped, salted Pistachios

Additional Ingredients for Way II:

  • an additional 1/2 cup of fine, dry white Breadcrumbs mixed with 1/2 teaspoon of Paprika
  • 1/2 cup of grated fresh Parmesan mixed with 1/2 teaspoon of Paprika
  • any thin-sliced bread that has some body to it, brushed with butter, toasted in the oven and cut into triangles:  for 8 people, 3 per person with before-dinner-drinks is a generous estimate

Equipment for Making the Cheese Spread:

  • a Sieve
  • an Electric Mixer, hand or standing–whichever you like using best

Additional Equipment for Way II only:

  • a square Casserole or Baking Pan :  the photographed spread was made in a Casserole measuring 9″ x 9″
  • a piece of Parchment Paper to line the Casserole:  the paper should extend up the sides of the Casserole a little
  • small Shape Cutters
  • a Cookie Sheet
  • a piece of Waxed Paper or another sheet of Parchment Paper to line the Cookie Sheet
  • a Pastry Board

Way I:

1.  Rub the Camembert through a sieve (rind and all), into a mixing bowl:

2.  Add to the bowl the wine, cream, cayenne pepper, breadcrumbs and several grinds of fresh black pepper and salt.  Using an electric mixer, mix everything together well with the cheese:

3.  Stir in the pistachios.

4.  Chill the spread briefly in the freezer until it is spreadable–30 minutes is a good estimation of how long this will take.  Alternatively, chill the spread in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight.

5.  Put the spread in a ramekin or bowl, sprinkle the top with chopped pistachios and serve it with seeded crackers–and other good things:

Way II: (Steps 1 through 3 are the same and are repeated here for convenience.)

1.  Rub the Camembert through a sieve (rind and all), into a bowl.

2.  Add the wine, cream, cayenne pepper, breadcrumbs and several grinds of fresh black pepper and salt.  Using an electric mixer, mix them together well with the cheese.

3.  Stir in the pistachios.

4.  Line the casserole with the parchment paper so that the paper extends up the sides of it a little.  Spread the mixture in the parchment-lined casserole and freeze it solid but not hard.  The timing depends on how cold the freezer is–about 30 – 45 minutes is a good estimate.

5.  While the cheese freezes, arrange the 1/2 cup of fine dry bread crumbs and the 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan mixed with paprika in two separate piles on one side of the pastry board or on two separate dishes.  Take the frozen cheese from the freezer. Pick it up, still on the parchment paper, and transfer it to the pastry board.  Cut shapes from the cheese:

Roll some of them in the bread crumbs…

and some of them in the Parmesan…

6.  Transfer them to the paper-lined cookie sheet.  Put them back in the freezer if they aren’t being eaten right away.

7.  Place the shapes on toast points to serve them.  They will thaw quickly (in about 5 minutes) and are meant to be eaten cold…

…And any cheese spread that isn’t cut into shapes may be put in a ramekin and served with crackers, or more toasts, along with the Camembert shapes, or stored in the freezer to eat some other time.

A Note:  Iced Camembert and White Wine Spread is served Both Ways with aperitifs for the Dinner MenuDinner in Early Spring.

An Acknowledgement:  The diplomatickitchen’s version of Camembert Glacé is based on Mrs. Lucas’s in The Dione Lucas Book of French Cooking.

© Elizabeth Laeuchli, the diplomatickitchen, 2011-2012

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