Saturday, May 18, 2013

Let's talk about cheese plates + a Goat Cheese-Roasted Garlic-Truffle Honey Beehive...

Whipped Fresh Cracked Pepper Goat Cheese, Pureed Rosted Garlic, & Truffle Honey Drizzle Beehive
I'm an entertaining kinda girl... not in the way that I'm the life of the party or I'm just super hilarious and everyone adores me (because most of the time, they don't, ha). But, I love love love to host parties and entertain my friends with a dinner meal, cookout, Sunday Funday, tailgatin', and holiday themed food. I am just the eternal host, and I can't ever stop. Seriously, it's become a problem. I start planning events months + months in advance. For an example of my madness, the process of planning our yearly "Friendsgiving" has already been discussed this week. Yeah, we're lame. But that's not the idea for today's post because we are focusing on cheese plates!! Now, I don't know about those people out there who don't like cheese, but watch your back, that's just plain mean... and that's coming from a person who is lactose intolerant. Before I get to the main recipe for an AMAZING goat cheese beehive + pictures of my cheeseboards, we havta talk about the set up. First of all, you need a big 'ole serving plate, wooden cutting board, or a professionally made cheese board. This is where you get to stack and pile on all your goodies :) Next up, the main ingredient + undefeated champ of the cooking world, CHEESE. A variety of cheese in flavor + texture is key here, people, especially when trying to making/keeping your guests and friends happy. You need some odd flavors, some really stinky strong cheese, some creamy, some tangy, some classics... well, you get my drift. The cheeses I like to include are the following: Gorgonzola Dolce, Comte, Creamy Goat Cheese, Vintage Aged Cheddar with Crystals (my favorite brand is Coastal Rugged, Mature White Cheddar, and I'm obsessed with it), Gouda Cheese, Brie, Black Pepper Parmesan, Manchego, a cheese with fruit in it (I prefer cranberry), and something spicy (I prefer triple pepper colby jack cheese from boars head). Now, don't feel like you have to inlcude all of these, they are all just suggestions; so, I would stick to 3-5 kinds of cheese for a dinner party. I like to take all of my cheese out of the refrigerator out and place it onto the counter, so it can soften and get rid of the chill. The accoutrements are the hype girls to the cheesy ring leader that means you nee some jams (preserves, spreads, etc.), fresh fruit (grapes, apples, etc.), dried fruit, crostini, fancy crackers, crusty fried bread, high quality pickles or marinated veggies, roasted or spiced nuts and a whole lot of yummy charcuterie. These additions are all very important, don't leave 'em out, okay? I also find it helpful to find and/or buy specialty cheese knives because they work with the cheese, as opposed to you being covered in cheese on your new, fancy dress. Each cheese should mostly be broken down in different ways... parmesan & cheddar need to be broken into large chunks, the Comte can be sliced or cubed, and the soft cheeses should just be left alone because it will just clutter your board. Okay, now that I've gotten that out of the way, here are some pictures of my cheese plates that I made in the past...

See? Look how awesome those are. I mean really, who needs dinner when you got this in front of you?  It's easy entertaining at its' best, but still incredibly satisfying and delicious!! The next item we have to tackle is the main recipe of this post... a Goat Cheese-Roasted Garlic-Truffle Honey Beehive that is featured in The Cheesemonger's Kitchen

This concoction is ridiculous, in all ways you can think of. Whipped Fresh Cracked Black Pepper Goat Cheese + Pureed Roasted Garlic are layered into a cheesecloth-lined bowl, and then inverted onto a cake stand and drizzled with yummy-yummy-tasty-tasty white truffle honey. I can't described to you the satisfaction I felt when I popped it out of the container and peeled off the cheesecloth to find perfectly crafted layers of fluffy cheese + creamy garlic. The flavors are all so wonderful together that we finished this entire beehive in one bite. Honestly, I can't stop thinking about all of the other amazing combinations of ingredients that I can substitute in... like for Christmas, maybe use sundried tomato paste, basil pesto, and roasted garlic... or for Thanksgiving, use cranberry sauce, pumpkin puree, & sage pesto. The list could go on + on, but I promise I won't. Wait, scratch that, how about making a sweet beehive instead? OMG, doing that with summer berries tomorrow. Back to our 'hive though, it is set onto a cake stand, and we had so much extra room that we decided to garnish with some speck, salumi, pepperoni from our favorite butcher in Atlanta, along with some sweet + tart apples. The beehive is so easy to spread onto bread and crackers, and perfectly perfect for a snack with a big glass of wine!! Enjoy :)

For the Whipped Black Pepper Goat Cheese:
2 16oz Blocks of Creamy Goat Cheese, Room Temperature
¼-½C Heavy Cream (we found our goat cheese was too thick, and this helped a lot) 
Sea Salt & Freshly Cracked Pepper (to your liking, we did about 1-2T of pepper)

For the Pureed Roasted Garlic Layer (the easy way):
1-2C Whole Roasted Garlic Cloves (we bought ours at Whole Foods)
¼-½C Extra Virgin Olive Oil

For the Goat Cheese Beehive:
Prepared Whipped Black Pepper Goat Cheese Layer
Prepared Pureed Roasted Garlic
Salt & Pepper, To Taste
Gourmet Truffle Honey (or any other high quality honey will do)
1-2 Cheesecloth
1 Small, Deep Dish Baking Dish or Bowl (look for one that is round, but flat on the bottom) 
Crostini, Crackers, Cured Meats, Fresh Fruit, or Fried Bread, For Serving

1. Line a baking dish or bowl with cheesecloth/muslin with plenty of overhang. Set it aside.
2. For the Whipped Black Pepper Goat Cheese: Place the softened goat cheese into the bowl of a standing mixer and beat for about 1-2 minutes until it has started to whip and smooth out. Depending on how thick it is (and how thick you want it to be), add in some heavy cream, fresh cracked black pepper, & salt and continue beating until light + fluffy, about 1-2 minutes. Refrigerate or set aside until you are ready to layer, but make sure it is room temperature and easily spreadable in the baking dish.
3. For the Pureed Roasted Garlic Layer: Place the roasted cloves of garlic into a food processor and begin to puree it until smooth and no chunks remain. With the food processor still on, drizzle in the olive oil until it has emulsified and creamy. Season with salt, pepper, & a pinch of sugar. Set it aside until ready to use.
4. Layering the Beehive: Using a rubber spatula, scoop out some of the whipped goat cheese and plop it into the cheesecloth-lined bowl and gently layer it (this first layer can be frustrating, but don’t worry, you can always fix your mistakes when you remove the cheesecloth from it later on). Season the top of this layer with salt & pepper to taste. Using the same method as the whipped goat cheese, dollop the garlic puree on top of the goat cheese layer and smooth it out once more. Repeat this alternating process until all of the ingredients have been used and you have created gorgeous layers (just make sure you end with goat cheese or it will get messy). Cover the beehive with the overhang of the cheesecloth (or an additional cheesecloth) and cover with tinfoil or plastic wrap. Refrigerate this overnight, in order for it to set properly.
5. For Serving: An hour or so before serving, remove the beehive from the refrigerator and peel back the cheesecloth. Place a cake stand upside down on the bowl and then invert the two together. Remove the bowl and peel off the cheesecloth/muslin to reveal the beehive. Any cracks in the goat cheese can be smoothed with a wet finger or spatula. Drizzle the beehive with truffle honey to complete the beehive theme and balance the aromatic garlic. Serve with bread, crackers, or fruit (and a glass of wine).


  1. I so love how you can take something simple and twist it into a "food event" I'm going to start doing cheese plates for Sunday dinners. We normally make brunch, then spend much of the day making dinner. Once finished, I'm wore out and have to start getting ready for the work week , not so relaxing. This is so inspiring and endless possibilities. Thanks for simplifying my life! Miss B

    1. Heck, life is just food event for me! I swear if I wasn't such a foodie, I would probably be an event/wedding planner... all I do is plan plan plan. And I agree on endless possibilities, I'm definitely making this christmas-themed this year!