follow us on

Celebrate National Cheese Day With 3 Dishes Oozing With Rich And Creamy Brie, Camembert And Feta

Everything tastes better with cheese. Whether melted, baked, or simply sliced, cheese makes any dish a sure-fire winner. Except for the lactose intolerant, who wouldn’t love this dairy product that comes in a myriad of styles ranging from soft to hard, fresh to aged, creamy to crumbly?

There’s a cheese flavor and texture to suit any palate and to match with almost any ingredient. Chef Nancy Dizon-Edralin shares three easy recipes you can make using popular Brie, Camembert and feta cheeses that you can easily find at your neighborhood supermarket or gourmet deli.

 

Feta Cream Cheese and Arugula Tartlets

 

Originally from Greece, feta cheese is a brined white cheese made from sheep’s milk or from a mixture of sheep and goat’s milk. It is much loved for its bold, tangy flavor and crumbly texture. When blended with cream cheese, it results in a soft, mild-tasting fresh cheese, that’s perfect for this simple yet delicious Mediterranean-style tartlet, a recipe that highlights the creamy and tangy notes of both cheeses.

Serves 6 to 8

  • 200 grams feta cheese
  • 150 grams cream cheese
  • salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 3 puff pastry sheets, store bought
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, for dusting
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 2 tablespoons softened butter, for brushing
  • 200 grams arugula
  • 1/2 cup basil, chopped1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled, for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 375°F.

2. In a medium bowl, combine feta and cream cheese. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Set aside.

3. Dust puff pastry sheets lightly with flour. Cut the pastry puff sheets into 9 even squares. Fold all the sides to create a 1/4-inch thick border. Transfer squares to a baking sheet.

4. Spread some feta-cream cheese mixture evenly in the center of each square. Place cherry tomatoes on top.

5. Brush edges of the tartlets with butter. Bake in the preheated oven until puff pastry is golden brown, approximately 12 to 15 minutes.

6. Arrange tartlets on a serving platter. Top with arugula, basil, and crumbled feta. Serve warm or cold.

 

Baked Brie with Sundried Tomatoes

 

Normally made from unpasteurized cow’s milk, Brie is a mild, soft-ripened cheese with a fruity, nutty and tangy flavor. It’s great as an appetizer or as a dessert cheese. While baked Brie is usually made as a sweet dish with honey and nuts, Chef Nancy decided on a more savory style with sun-dried tomatoes and basil. The best part about baking the Brie is slicing it open to reveal its creamy, melted inside.

Serves 6 to 8

  • 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 rounds (125 grams) Brie cheese, rind on
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Combine sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, parsley and olive oil in a medium bowl.

3. Place the cheese on a baking sheet and top with the sun-dried tomatoes-garlic mixture.

4. Bake in the preheated oven until cheese is soft. Transfer to a plate.

5. Sprinkle basil on top. Serve with toasted baguette slices.

 

Camembert Potato au Gratin

 

Originating from the Normandy region, Camembert is one of France’s most popular cheeses. This soft cow’s milk cheese with a white rind is pungent, strongly-flavored and quite runny. Although similar in style to Brie, Camembert is usually stronger in flavor. As used in this potato gratin recipe, Camembert gives the potatoes sharper flavor as well as added creaminess.

Serves 6 to 8

  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened, divided
  • 1 kilo large potatoes, peeled, sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 2 cups Camembert cheese, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • salt and ground black pepper, to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Butter a baking dish with 1 tablespoon of softened butter. Arrange first layer of potatoes in the baking dish, then top with a layer of Camembert cheese. Continue layering potatoes and cheese. End the last layer with the potatoes.

3. In a medium bowl, mix cream with salt and black pepper. Pour cream over the potatoes. Add small pats of butter on top of the potatoes.

4. Bake potatoes in the preheated oven for 1 hour, or until potatoes are tender.

 

A longer version of this article appeared in FOOD Magazine, Issue 4, 2015

Recipes and styling by Nancy Dizon-Edralin

Photos by Paul del Rosario