If my rabid collecting of vintage recipes and cookbooks has taught me anything, it is this: SHAPES MATTER. I don’t usually go in for sculpted food, but this cheese ball is so much fun to make (and easy, quick, simple, at that) that I can’t help but smile at its presence on my table.
You’ll see I’ve made two versions, one with sliced-almond shingles and one without. I can’t decide which look I prefer! But that’s what makes this recipe so wonderful: it’s easy to customize. Do you want something a little more piquant? Stir in some chili paste and you’ll have a brand new flavor for your guests. Need a little sweet with your cheese? Fold in apricot jam and you’ll be in heaven.
Yield: ~8 servings
2 8-ounce packages Cream Cheese, room temperature
8 ounces Goat Cheese, room temperature
1 ½ cups Grated Sharp White Cheddar
⅓ cup Minced Fresh Chives
1 tablespoon Onion Powder
½ cup Chopped Fresh Parsley
¼ cup Sliced Almonds
2 tablespoons Diced Red Pepper
1 strip Lemon Peel, cut into small star
Crackers, for serving
Beat together cream cheese, goat cheese, cheddar, dill, and onion powder in large bowl.
Remove cheese mixture from bowl and place on sheet of parchment paper. Cover mound of cheese with plastic wrap. Using your hands, shape cheese into Christmas tree. If cheese ball is too soft, refrigerate in 20 minute-spans until firm enough to handle.
Pick up cheese-tree covered in plastic wrap and peel away parchment paper bottom. Carefully place cheese tree on platter.
Sprinkle and press parsley onto exterior of cheese-tree. Press squares of red pepper around tree as ornaments. Slide almond slices into tree like shingles, intermittently. Top with lemon peel star.
Place crackers around base, and serve. Or keep chilled until ready to serve.