This is pretty much cheese-lovers nirvana; cutting open a baked camembert is one of those moments that compels a collective gasp around the table, before a quick clamour to find a suitable means of damming the tide of melted cheese. Roasted garlic cloves can be squeezed and spread onto toasts before diving in.

To poach a quince: peel it, half it and slip it into a just-bubbling pan of sugar syrup for an hour or so – the fruit slowly softens and starts to turn a deep, ruby pink. Once cooked, they’ll sit submerged in the syrup in the fridge for at least a week.

A recipe by Stuart Ovenden from The Orchard Cook.


  • 1 Quince, poached in sugar syrup
  • 375g Puff pastry
  • 1 Egg, beaten
  • Poppy seeds
  • 1 Garlic bulb
  • Toasted sourdough to serve


  • STEP 1

    Heat the oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Lightly flour your work surface and roll the pastry out to a 5mm thickness. Cut out two circles; the base should be about the size of a saucer (the cheese needs to have about a 1 inch gap all the way round), while the top should be the size of a dinner plate.

  • STEP 2

    Lay your hand flat on top of the Camembert and use a serrated knife to carefully cut the cheese in half horizontally (a bit like how you'd cut a cake in half). Slice the quince and arrange evenly on top of the bottom half of the cheese. Put the top lid of the cheese back on. At this point it's a good idea to use a sharp knife to trim the sharp-edged top of the rind off, so that the cheese has a nice dome shape when covered.

  • STEP 3

    cover an oven-proof tray with a sheet of baking parchment. Put the smaller pastry circle in the middle, then carefully place the filled cheese on top. Brush the exposed pastry at the base with egg, then lift the lid on. Shape the pastry around the cheese with your hands, then use a fork to pinch the pastry edges together and create a seal. Brush with egg, scatter some poppy seeds over the top and bake for 25 minutes until golden.

Stuart Ovenden is the author of The Orchard Cook, £25, published by Clearview Books.

Main image: ©Stuart Ovenden