Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Fig, Walnut and Blue Cheese Spread

Wonderful with a glass of wine, sherry or port. 
Spread a bit of this on a piece of Melba toast, toasted bread, crackers, wedges of apples or pears or sturdy vegetables.  Possibly on Endive leaves, a teaspoon in each.

Toast about a cup of walnuts on a dry cookie sheet in a 325 oven, just till they become fragrant.
Chop about a cup of figs into 1/4 inch pieces.  I use baby figs, but you could use any you like.  You might want to soak the very dry figs in sherry or water for an hour or two before using them.  They will suck all the moisture out of the other ingredients if you do not.
chop the walnuts and figs together, till fine, but not a paste. 
stir in 1/2 cup of crumbled blue cheese(or to taste).
Moisten with  a nice sherry(sweet or dry)( and optional) 
Blend the entire mixture into 1 1/2 cups of softened cream cheese .
Add a little cream if it is terribly thick. 
Form into a log by rolling in waxed paper.
Chill for about an hour.
Cut into disks and arrange on a serving platter along with fruit and toast or crackers,. Allowing to come to room temperature.  Spread generous mounds onto the toast etc. to serve.
This is very rich and a small amount is all you need for each serving.

The measurements are approximate.

This would be lovely with hazelnuts, and you might do better with a good Gruyere instead of blue cheese if you can afford the two.  Hazelnuts are through the roof and we all know about Gruyere. You might get away with a really good Swiss instead.  Gruyere is very nutty tasting.   Parmesan is also a bit nutty tasting when just eaten; so that may work too.  Try chunking it up with a spoon or blunt knife instead of grating it. Push the point in and give it a twist.  for this application, keep breaking up the crumbs till they are the size you want.   The cheap stuff will not work well.  The less expensive Parmesan does not have that sweet/salt/nutty flavor.  You can afford to do Parmesan of decent quality, because you need so little to make a big impact.   The texture is completely different, almost granular.

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