Recently, Cheeses of Europe generously sent me a package of Mimolette and Fourme d’Ambert from the best cheese shop in New York City, Murray’s Cheese (as part of “Make it Magnifique” campaign). It felt like Christmas since I love cheese!
Mimolette’s bright orange paste and dusty exterior tastes something akin to gouda. Sweet-salty, caramelized flavor but has the texture of Parmigianno Reggiano (hard, dense and easily shaved). The Fourme d’Ambert is a mild, earthy, cow’s milk blue cheese. It is creamy and lacks the spicy funk in Roquefort. The latter is a good thing, especially for some of my friends who don’t like the funky and/or stinky cheeses. To me, it’s a great entry blue cheese.
Since I had a friends coming over to my house during the afternoon, I thought of baking something savory and whipped up a batch of these Fourme d’Ambert, thyme, cayenne, tomato jam popovers. (I know it’s a mouthful of a name but at least you know what it is.) It’s a mix of savory, spicy and sweet in a few pillowy bites. I always liked complex flavored pastries and this is my eccentric tastes thought up of since I want to surprise my friends that blue cheese like this Fourme d’Ambert tastes delicious.
By all accounts, if you do not like your popovers to have a sharp spicy kick, omit the cayenne. It should hold up well enough since you’re still using black pepper to give it some spice.
Fourme d’Ambert Blue Cheese, Thyme, Cayenne, Tomato Jam Popovers
Yield: 12 popovers (in regular sized muffin pan)
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne (optional)
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme (if you’re using dried, use 1/2 tablespoon)
1 1/4 cups whole milk, at room temperature
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
3 ounces Fourme d’Ambert, sliced into small cubes (you may use other blue cheeses)
2 ounces tomato jam
- Position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 450°F. Generously brush one 24-cup or two 12-cup mini-muffin pans with vegetable oil.
- In a large bowl, whisk together all of the dry ingredients. In a large measuring cup or bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients.
- Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and whisk together until just combined (don’t worry if a few lumps remain). Let the batter rest for about 10 minutes.
- Pour the batter into the prepared muffin cups to within 1/4 inch of the rim (about 1 Tbs. each). Place 1/2 tablespoon of Fourme d’Ambert cheese in the center of each filled cup.
- Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F. Add about a teaspoon of tomato jam on top of the popovers and continue to bake until the popovers are brown and crusty and fully puffed, 8 to 12 minutes more. Do not open the oven door during this time.
- Remove from the oven and immediately transfer the popovers to a napkin-lined bowl or warmed platter. Serve immediately. Or, let cool on wire racks for up to 2 hours, then reheat in a 350°F oven for 10 minutes.