I'm P.C., and I have studied food and cooking around the world, mostly by eating, but also through serious study. Coursework at Le Cordon Bleu London and intensive courses in Morocco, Thailand and France have broadened my culinary skill and palate. But my kitchen of choice is at home, cooking like most people, experimenting with unique but practical ideas.

I live, mostly in my kitchen, in my hometown of Memphis, Tennessee.

Bacon CamemBeer Bites

When October rolls around, I start thinking about beer.  Because I start thinking about Oktoberfest.  I’ve never been to Germany, so I’ve never been to a real Oktoberfest celebration, which I understand generally happen at the end of September anyway.  But the idea of Oktoberfest just presents so many options for cooking with, and drinking, good beer. It’s impossible to pass up.

So here is my contribution to the festivities this year.  A nice little beer- based starter.  Tangy with camembert cheese and beer and studded with crispy bacon, these would make a great starter to a meal of German Meatballs, or Belgian Beef and Beer Stew with a selection of nice, crisp beer.  There are so many amazing imported and locally made beers out there now, it’s a great chance to have a little tasting party to familiarize yourself with the latest options.  In the name of research, of course.  So, the name of this recipe is a little silly, but any celebration focused on beer is bound to get silly at some point…

Bacon CamemBeer Bites

Use a good beer you like to drink, but not a dark or amber.  The color would be muddy and the taste overwhelming.

½ pound bacon

7 ounce round of camembert cheese

1 cup pale or golden ale or lager

4 Tablespoons butter

¼ teaspoon ground mustard

¼ teaspoon smoked paprika

Dash of cayenne pepper

1 cup all-purpose flour

4 eggs, room temperature

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon salt

Cook the bacon until crispy and drain on paper towels.  Finely dice the bacon and set aside. Cut the rind off the camembert as best you can, cut it into small pieces and leave it to come to roomtemperature.

Pour the beer into a high-sided saucepan, add the ground mustard, smoked paprika and cayenne.  Drop in the butter, cut into pieces. Bring the beer and the butter to a boil over medium heat, stirring until the butter melts.  When the beer is boiling, dump the flour in all at once and stir vigorously with a sturdy spatula or wooden spoon until the dough comes together in a ball.  Remove from the heat and continue stirring until the mixture is smooth.  Add the eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each addition until the mixture is smooth.  Drop in the camembert pieces and continue stirring until it is melted into the dough.  Stir in the bacon, mustard and salt.

Refrigerate the dough for 20 minutes while you preheat the oven to 350° degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Take the dough from the fridge and using a 2 Tablespoon scoop or spoons, drop mounds of dough onto the prepared sheets,  about ½ inch apart.  Bake for 15 – 17 minutes until puffed and golden. They puff up quickly, wait until they are firm and golden brown on top to take out them out.  They willdeflate a bit, no worries.  Serve immediately.

Makes 18

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