A statue of Marie Harel stands in the Place de Mackau in Vimoutiers (Orne), but Marie (born Marie Fontaine in Crouttes in 1761) probably owes her moment of glory to refractory priest Father Charles- Jean Bonvoust, who came either from Brie or Pays de Caux, we no longer know which. Following his advice, Marie improved and extended production of a particular speciality cheese from Camembert, which we know already existed in the late 17th century. This soft, bloomyrind cheese – awarded PDO status in 1996 – is known today as Camembert de Normandie. The cheese is made by heating milk to a maximum temperature of 40°C and adding rennet. The resulting curd is sliced vertically and ladled into moulds; this process is repeated 5 times to drain the curd completely, giving a smooth, supple-textured cheese. Camembert de Normandie is then salted with dry salt and left to mature in an hâloir - a well-ventilated room between 10 and 18°C – for a minimum of 21 days.
© Nathalie Carnet
Normandy rice ballrecipe from chef Samuel Lee Sum
- For the dough
- 550 g + 100 g rice flour
- 150 g cornflour
- 150 g caster sugar
- 1 l milk
- For the filling
- 500 g 35% fat cream
- 130 g icing sugar
- 50 g mascarpone
- Le Camembert
- 1 mango
- 1 melon
- To cook
- 100 g rice flour
Make the Dough
- Mix 550 g of rice flour with the cornflour and sugar, add the milk and stir until you have a smooth dough.
- Steam the dough for 40 minutes, then leave to rest at room temperature.
- Roll the dough into a long sausage shape and slice into pieces of 2-3 cm.
- Warm the 100 g of rice flour in a frying pan and use to coat your hands.
- Using your hands or a rolling pin, roll out the pieces of dough.
Make the filling
- Combine the cream, sugar and mascarpone, and whisk until stiff.
- Cube the Camembert, mango and melon.
Fill the balls
- Take a piece of dough and place a teaspoonful of the whipped cream in the centre, followed by a mix of Camembert, mango and melon. Holding the dough by the base, press the filling firmly into the circle and close the ball carefully by pinching from above with your thumb and index finger. Using both hands, carefully shape it into a ball.
- Arrange two balls at room temperature on a plate, and garnish with fruit.
- The Normandy rice balls should be eaten within 24 hours.
Samuel Lee Sum
Samuel Lee was born in Hong Kong, and very quickly became immersed in a world where traditional Chinese cooking was a top priority. The memory of family gatherings around the table, with all the attendant delicious food aromas, inspired him to seek out a career as a chef. He took the traditional catering college route, later joining the team at the Hong Kong Jockey Club in Beijing under the tutelage of chef Bobby Lo. This turned out to be a memorable encounter, reigniting a burgeoning - and soon to be all-consuming – passion for cooking. In 2014, he was invited to work in Paris alongside executive chef Christophe Moret (2 Michelin stars, earned at l’Abeille) running Shang Palace, the only Michelin-starred Chinese restaurant in Paris. It was an offer he couldn’t refuse.