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Fall Cheese Spreads November 7, 2013

Posted by Paula Erbay in Appetizers.
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Fall, the season that brings to mind beautiful leaves, crisp air, and warm gatherings with friends. Of course living in Southern California it is only the later that we can truly count on. A group of friends gathered to kick off the season with an early Thanksgiving themed luncheon. I was asked to bring an appetizer and came up with two cheese spreads inspired by my memories of the classic Connecticut Fall.

Fall Cheese Spreads

Pumpkin Goat Cheese is on the left and Pomegranate Blue Cheese is on the right. I served them with Sesame Melba Crackers (Trader Joe’s), and Fall’s most abundant crop – apples (great with pears too)

Pumpkin Goat Cheese Spread November 7, 2013

Posted by Paula Erbay in Appetizers.
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8 oz   Chevre Goat Cheese
8 oz   Neufchatal Cheese (light cream cheese)
¼ C   Pumpkin preserve, coarsely chopped* (about 2 ½ oz)
1 T     Pumpkin preserve syrup (or more to taste)
½ tsp Hot Red pepper flakes** (or more to taste)

Mix the goat and cream cheeses together; they should both be at room temperature for easy mixing (or micro for up to 30 seconds to soften). Add the chopped preserved pumpkin, hot red pepper flakes, and pumpkin preserves syrup. Adjust seasoning to your taste, I use up to 1 tsp of hot red pepper flakes.

Shape the mixture into a log using plastic wrap. Then coat the log with pumpkin seeds (below) by spreading the seeds out on plastic wrap and rolling the cheese log over. Wrap tightly and refrigerate (I bring it back to room temperature prior to serving).

Pumpkin Preserves & Red Pepper  * Turkish or Armenian Pumpkin Preserves are sold at Jon’s and Middle Eastern markets. Do not use pumpkin butter, pumpkin preserves have solid pieces of pumpkin packed in a sweet syrup – you can eat them right out of the jar as a dessert!

 

** I use Başak “Acı Pul Kırmızıbiber” – which translates to “Hot Red Pepper Flakes”, choose any you like but don’t skip the heat as it balances the sweetness of the preserved pumpkin.

Pumpkin Seed Coating
½ C Raw Pumpkin Seeds
¼ tsp Hot Red Pepper flakes
¼ tsp Kosher salt

Spread pumpkin seeds in a single layer on a foil lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with the hot red pepper flakes and kosher salt. Bake at 375° 3 to 5 minutes (the seeds will start to “jump”).

Pomegranate Blue Cheese Spread November 7, 2013

Posted by Paula Erbay in Appetizers.
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8 oz Neufchatel (light cream cheese)
3 oz Blue cheese crumbles
½ tsp Sumac (up to 1 tsp to taste)
Black pepper to taste
1 tsp Pomegranate Balsamic Vinegar (or more to taste)

Mix everything except the blue cheese; adjust seasoning to your taste. For best results the cream cheese should be at room temperature. Fold in the blue cheese crumbles.

Crust & Topping
½ C Walnuts, coarsely chopped & toasted
¼ C Pomegranate seeds, fresh

Approximate measurements as the amount will vary based on the dish you use.

Line a ramekin or small tart pan with plastic wrap; allow enough wrap to cover the top. If using a ramekin or similar bowl you’ll be inverting the spread after it sets, so the bottom will become the top. Spread fresh pomegranate seeds evenly over the bottom; the fill with the blue cheese mixture; finally cover with toasted walnuts. Bring the plastic wrap over the top to completely cover; gently press down so the pomegranate seeds will adhere to the cheese and there are no air pockets. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Pull the plastic back from the top; place on a serving plate; lift the ramekin off the cheese and remove the plastic. If needed add additional pomegranate seeds or walnuts to the top and sides.