A few years ago, I tried to make biscuits from scratch but failed. Which made me hesitant to try making biscuits again but I decided I had to get over it if I was ever going to amount to anything as a baker or cook. I saw a couple of biscuit recipes in Mastering the Art of French Cooking and chose Galettes au Camembert to defeat my fears.
I actually succeeded on my first try which surprised me. Then I thought about all the cooking and baking I had done since my first try and realized I’m making progress!
These taste a little like Cheese Nips. I don’t know if Julia would be turning over in her grave with that comment but it’s the truth.
This dough can also substitute for a pastry dough for tarts and turnovers. When I get to those, I’ll have to try this dough again and see what happens.
Special Equipment – 2 quart mixing bowl, biscuit cutter, pastry brush
Yield – about 50 biscuits if you use the recommended size biscuit cutter
1) 6-8 ounces of ripe Camembert cheese – I used the entire wheel in the picture below. It ended up being less because scraping the crust off soft cheese wasn’t an easy endeavour.
2) 3 ounces (3/4 stick) softened butter
3) 3 eggs
4) 1/2 teaspoon salt
5) 1/2 teaspoon water
5) 1/8 teaspoon pepper
6) pinch of cayenne pepper
7) 2 cups sifted all purpose flour
Preparation and Baking
1) Scrape off the crusts and mash the cheese in the mixing bowl with a fork. I did not realize that Camembert was one of those stinky cheeses so this took some getting used to. Because the cheese was soft, this may take a little bit of work, it did for me at least.
2) Blend in the butter. First I used the beater attachments but that wasn’t that great. The dough attachments worked better – less scraping out.
3) Beat in two of the eggs
4) Add the seasonings.
5) Work the flour into the mixture.
6) Knead everything together to create a smooth, supple dough.
7) Wrap in plastic wrap (or wax paper) and chill until firm (about 1 hour).
8) Turn the oven to 350 degrees.
9) Roll out the dough until it’s 1/4 inch thick.
10) Take a baking sheet and cover with parchment paper.
11) Cut into 1 1/2 inch rounds. Well I used the big biscuit cutter so the yield was about half.
12) Make the egg wash – crack an egg into a small bowl, add the 1/2 teaspoon of water and beat well.
13) Brush the egg wash onto the rounds using a brush. Julia says “pastry brush” but you can buy a cheaper paint brush at your hardware store and it works just as well.
14) Bake in upper third of oven for about 15 minutes or until lightly browned. It was difficult to get the biscuits to brown for me. I had to keep it in much longer than 15 minutes (about 9 minutes more) but that could have been because I made them bigger. I even tried sticking them in the middle of the oven, which worked okay but I still had to bake them longer than 15 minutes (more like 20 minutes). I think it depends on your oven so this might take a little testing on your part and looking at the biscuits through the oven door.
Enjoy! Love, Ana