I was invited to cook with Comté cheese and with chef Laura Pope recently at a Central London cooking school.
The plan of action for the day was to make three recipes, all using Comté cheese, and taking home most of what we cooked. We would taste the recipes that Laura made and take ours home to share with the family.
Comté comes from the Massif du Jura region of France and is still made the same way as it has been for centuries. Only Montbéliarde and French Simmental cows are allowed to produce milk for the cheese. There are all sorts of restrictions such as their feed and amount of grazing pasture for each cow. Once the cheese is made it is matured for 12, 18, 24 or 36 months before making its way into our supermarkets and delis. Only the best quality is packaged with the green symbol and sold abroad.
The intense flavours, rich colour and smooth texture of Comté make it the perfect addition to your Christmas cheeseboard.
To start our cooking session, working in pairs we made our own pastry for the Mini Spiced Apple, Pecan and Comté pies. A perfect mix of sweet and savoury to give your palate a break over the Christmas holidays from solid mince pies.
Next we made Sundried Tomato, Green Olive & Comté Loaf Cake. This recipe makes two 1lb loaf so you can pop one into the freezer to have when unexpected guests pop in for a glass of wine and nibbles. Sliced and served warm with a glass of white wine would be my perfect party nibble.
200g Self Raising flour1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
½ tsp sea salt
Few twists of freshly ground black pepper
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
100ml olive oil, plus a little extra for greasing the tins
100ml whole milk
100g pitted olives, halved
100g sundried tomatoes, roughly chopped
100g Comtécheese, finely grated.
Heat the oven to 190oC/fan 170oC) and grease 2 small loaf tins (1lb)
Mix flour, thyme leaves, salt and pepper. Add the eggs, oil and milk and beat with an electric whisk for 1 minute to form a smooth batter.
Mix in the olives, tomatoes and ¾ of the cheese.
Pour the batter into two loaf tins, sprinkle over the remaining cheese and bake for 30-35 minutes until the loaves are firm, golden and crusty cheesy on top.
Cool for 5 minutes in the tin and then turn onto a wire rack.
Lovely served slightly warm or at room temperature.
If freezing a loaf, defrost it completely before baking in an oven, pre-heated for 5-10 minutes to reheat.
Our third and final recipe for the afternoon was Mushroom & Thyme Tartlets with Comté. These are quick and easy and are simply a sautéed mushroom and onion mix with the addition of Comté cheese put into cases made from cut outs of buttered bread and topped with some grated Comté before baking in the oven for about 12 minutes and are best served warm.
We were given some Comté cheese to take home and I made my own recipe for a quick Saturday night supper.
In an ovenproof dish put three medium or two large croissants chopped into small pieces.
Sprinkle on a package of finely chopped or shredded ham and 200gm grated Comté cheese.
Pour over a mixture of 6-8 eggs, 100ml single cream and 50ml milk, salt & pepper.
If you want you can sprinkle some chilli flakes on top as well.
Bake in the oven (180oC) for about 35-40 minutes until set and golden and cheesy on top.
Serve with a cheese sauce and a mixed salad.
I did not receive any payment to attend the event or to write my account. As usual all opinions and photos are my own.