Christmas Starter Ideas To Incorporate Your Home Made Cheese
It’s coming up close to Christmas and this year the family Christmas celebrations are happening at my place. We’re a month out and I need to start thinking about what I’m going to be serving up on the day. I know that I want to be able to incorporate the wonderful cheeses that I’ve been making this year, and what better way to do that than in the pre-dinner snacks or starters?
So I came up with some Christmas starter ideas and after narrowing down I’ve decided that I’ll be serving up a Cheese Filled Brioche Christmas Tree (yum!) as well as a Christmas Cheese Board.
Cheese Filled Brioche Christmas Tree
Summer Christmas Verses White Christmas
The cheese board got me thinking, what cheese should I serve up based on the Christmas weather? Where I live, it is summer and Christmas is usually a hot day. But what about all of my readers who have a classic White Christmas?
So, because I want to include all of the Curd Nerd community in these cheesy Christmas starter ideas, I will be putting together 2 different cheese boards in the next few weeks.
One will be perfect for hot weather, and one for cold weather. I’ll post up my ideas and hopefully some of you can gather some inspiration from it and serve up one at your own Christmas dinner.
A Classic Baked Camembert To Inspire A Christmas Starter
Back to the Cheese Filled Brioche Christmas Tree. I had some Camembert just waiting to be enjoyed and I absolutely love a baked Camembert. So I took a classic brioche recipe and adapted it to include my beautiful cheese.
I haven’t made brioche buns before so I decided to try my hand at it this week and see how it turns out before Christmas comes. I created a video of how they turned out, which you can see below. And in case you’re wondering, they turned out great and I will definitely be making them for Christmas. I know they will be a hit.
Each brioche bun is filled with oozy delicious Camembert. And then there is a full baked Camembert in the middle of the tree to dip the buns into. Of course, if you haven’t made any Camembert you can substitute it with whatever meltable cheese you have lying around in your cheese cave. And you can replace the baked Camembert in the middle for a fresh cheese such as cream or ricotta cheese made into a dip.
A quick note on the recipe – due to egg allergies in the family I had to use a substitute. If you are okay with egg, then you can use 1 whole egg instead of the ground flaxseeds. You can also mix one egg yolk with the milk for the wash before the buns are baked. This will give them a nice shine.
I am in love with this recipe! The Cheese Filled Brioche Christmas Tree is:
Ever so slightly sweet
So without further ado, here is the recipe.
Camembert Brioche Christmas Tree
- 2 rounds of Camembert (or another meltable cheese that you have stored in your cheese cave)
- 1 cup warm water
- ¼ cup warm milk
- 2 tsp dried yeast
- 2 ½ tbsp caster sugar
- 3 cups 00 (strong) flour, sifted
- ⅓ cup plain flour, sifted
- 65g unsalted butter
- 1 ½ tsp salt
- 1 tbsp ground flaxseeds mixed with 3 tbsp water
- ¼ cup milk (to spread on buns before baking)
- Combine the warm water and milk in a bowl with the dried yeast and the caster sugar. Mix well and then cover with plastic wrap and leave aside for 5 minutes.
- In a separate bowl, combine the 00 flour and the plain flour. Add the butter and work the butter into the flour, making sure that you use your fingertips so that the butter doesn’t melt. You are after a crumbly mixture.
- Next, add the flaxseed and the yeast mixture, which has already rested for 5 minutes. Combine this to make dough and knead for 5 minutes.
- Add the salt to the dough and knead for another 7 minutes, until the dough is smooth, stretchy and a bit sticky.
- Rest the dough for at least 3 hours. Overnight is preferable. The dough should double in size.
- Line a baking tray and cut one round of your Camembert into 16 pieces.
- Pre heat your oven to 200 ˚C
- Roll the dough into a log shape on a floured workbench. Divide the dough into 16 pieces. Take the first piece and holding the dough in one hand, use the other hand to stretch it out and fold it back onto itself. Do this in a circular pattern until you have formed a ball. Then open up the bottom of the dough ball and place a piece of Camembert into the center. Follow the same technique of stretching and folding the dough in a circular motion to close the dough around the cheese. Roll the dough to perfect the ball shape and set aside. Continue for all 16 pieces.
- Place your 2nd Camembert onto your baking tray and organize the buns around the Camembert into a Christmas Tree shape. Then remove the Camembert and brush the buns with milk. Bake for 15 minutes. Note – I placed an ovenproof bowl in the centre of the tree while baking to ensure there would still be enough space for the Camembert after the buns cooked and expanded.
- Once the buns are finished, place the Camembert onto a lined tray and bake for 7 minutes, or until it is soft but hasn’t lost its shape. Then transfer the buns onto your serving dish, place the baked Camembert in the center and decorate with rosemary.
So, that it! It’s such a simple Christmas starter idea, yet it is so satisfying! Give it whirl and let me know what you think over in the forum. And feel free to ask any questions that you may have as well.
I will be posting my Summer Christmas and White Christmas Cheese Boards in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!