As with many of my recipes the idea for this Vegan Baked Camembert was born out of my desire to recreate a food I used to love eating. And what’s not to love? Gooey and creamy, warm melted cheese with punchy garlic and a hint of herb from the rosemary. I could easily eat my way through a whole crusty baguette, dunking it in the cheese and happily munching away. What – am I supposed to just give up that pleasure ’cause I don’t eat dairy anymore? Heck no! Clearly I had to devise a way to make my own plant based and fuss free version. And nothing makes me more determined than my appetite!
I know that there are now some incredible companies out there who are making and selling their own cultured and ripened vegan camemberts, which is amazing! I’m so happy to see more and more small vegan cheese companies popping up. However, as delicious as their cheese is, it’s perhaps not feasible for the every day person to purchase a specialty cheese whenever they want to have some baked camembert action. I wanted to create a recipe that anyone could make at home, using simple ingredients. Which means it doesn’t have to be a food saved solely for special occasions but instead is something you can rustle up any old time you fancy it!
The Camembert itself is made with a cashew base, which is blended with the other ingredients and then cooked to the right consistency on the stove. The addition of tapioca flour not only thickens the mixture but also gives it that slight cheesy stretch that we are after. I found tapioca flour in my local Chinese supermarket, quite randomly, but I’ve also seen it alongside the baking ingredients at the supermarket, as it’s often used in gluten free baking (it’s also sometimes labelled tapioca starch – it’s the same thing.)
Once you have a thick and creamy cashew sauce all you have to do is pour it into a small shallow dish, stud it with garlic and rosemary and bake it in the oven for 20 minutes – and that’s it! Voila – Baked cheese heaven! As it cooks it creates the skin on the surface of the cheese, just like a normal Camembert, but remains gooey and melted underneath. I like to line my dish with greaseproof paper, purely for appearances’ sake, but you can bake it directly in any oven proof dish. It will still look impressive when it comes out of the oven!
I like it best eaten with warm crusty bread (you can put the bread into the oven for the last few minutes with the cheese to warm it up). Chicory leaves and celery sticks are also excellent vehicles for dunking, as well as any other veg you can eat raw and cut into a baton. I’ve also been known to dunk potatoes wedges into the leftover cheese but shhh don’t tell anyone – the French would be horrified!
I really hope you give my recipe a try and love it as much as I do!
If you post a picture on Instagram please do tag me #kindstateofmind or @kindstateofmind – I’d love to see your creations!
Garlic + Rosemary Baked Vegan Camembert
Makes: 1 dish
Prep time: 15 mins
Baking time: 20 minutes
For the Camemebert
- 75g raw cashews, soaked for at least 4 hours (preferably overnight)
- 200ml water
- 1 tsp flaky salt (halve if using fine salt)
- 1 large clove of garlic
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp tapioca flour/starch
- a small bunch of rosemary
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1/2 tbsp olive oil
- freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat your oven to 180°C and line a small dish with greaseproof paper.
- Add all the camembert ingredients to a blender and process until you have a completely smooth liquid. It will be very watery.
- Pour the liquid into a saucepan and cook over a low-medium heat stirring constantly with a spatula. It will start to thicken, looking quite lumpy at first- this is normal! Keep stirring until the mixture has all become thick and gooey in texture (think about how melted cheese would look). The mixture should still be runny enough to pour so be careful not to overcook it. Have a taste to check the seasoning and add a bit more salt if needed.
- Pour the cheese mixture into your lined dish. Slice the remaining garlic cloves into little strands and gently poke them into the surface of the cheese at intervals. Also add in some sprigs of rosemary, then drizzle over the olive oil and sprinkle on some black pepper.
- Carefully place into the oven and bake for approximately 20 minutes, checking after 15. It will puff up slightly during baking and is ready when it has a lightly golden outer skin with a warm, gooey middle. Best eaten immediately.
- Any uneaten cheese can be kept in the fridge and reheated in the oven – it may lose some of the runny texture if heated twice however.
- If you have a high powered blender you can skip soaking the cashews, although I still like to soak them for extra creaminess.
- You can make the cheese mixture ahead of time, keep it in the fridge and then bake it later. You will need to increase the baking time by about 5-10 minutes as the above baking guidelines are for when the mixture is already warm.
My Camembert recipe was inspired by this brilliant Moxerella by Somer McCowan.