Sunday, December 28, 2014

Festive Christmas Cheeseball with Boursin Cheese, Cranberry Cheddar, Aged Gruyere, Caramelized Walnuts, Crispy Sage, Chives, + Rolled in Pomegranate Arils

Festive Christmas Cheeseball with Boursin Cheese, Cranberry Cheddar, Aged Gruyere, Caramelized Walnuts, Crispy Sage, Chives, + Rolled in Pomegranate Arils
Hey y'all, sorry I have been out of commission, we have been traveling non-stop. First we were in Birmingham for about a week, and then Atlanta for a few days, and in just two day, we're heading off to New Orleans for the Alabama vs. Ohio State game at the Sugar Bowl for the first football playoff game... oh yeah, and we get to celebrate New Years Eve there too!! So it will have been a couple crazy weeks. But even though we are heading to the famous Bourbon Street, sadly, we have to admit that Christmas has passed us once again :( I can't believe it has already come + gone and now we have have to wait a'whole'nother year before celebrating it again. This year, since we were so busy, I unfortunately didn't get to make but two new recipes to honor the holiday season. This is the first recipe and it is the perfect party appetizer that all your friends + family are sure to enjoy. And hey, it's festive in color, to boot! The cheeseball begins with softened cream cheese + boursin cheese, shredded cranberry cheddar + aged gruyere, caramelized walnuts, crispy sage, fresh chives, and finally rolled in pomegranate arils. How perfect is that... green, red, + white? It's like Santa's elves made it themselves. Honestly, it is so easy to make as well. All you have to do is beat together the softened cream cheese and boursin until whipped + cohesive. And then toss in the the shredded cheese, walnuts, herbs, and some fresh cracked pepper. Mix it together until a cohesive mixture is formed, and using plastic wrap, roll it into one large ball or two medium-sized balls, before placing them into the fridge to chill. Meanwhile, pour your pomegranate arils onto a thickly, paper towel-lined cutting board and spread them out, so that they can dry as much as possible. The more moisture removed, the better the cheeseball will look and taste (we don't want no soggy cheese, y'all)!! After the cheeseball has chilled out in the fridge and the pomegranate is perfectly dry, you just need roll the ball around in the arils, pressing them in slightly, so that they adhere and stick to the cheese... making the perfect presentation. You can serve the festive christmas cheeseball directly out of the refrigerator or you can let it soften a bit, so it is easier to spread onto various crackers. This appetizer hits every flavor note that you could ever want... salty, sweet, juicy, herby, cheesy, fruity, creamy, + nutty!! I hope y'all get to enjoy this one before New Years Day!! Enjoy :)
For the Festive Cheeseball:
4T Unsalted Butter, Melted
16 Fresh Sage Leaves
1 Round of Boursin Cheese, Softened
8oz Cream Cheese, Softened
6oz Cranberry Cheddar, Shredded
6oz Aged Gruyere, Shredded
1C Caramelized Walnuts
¼C Fresh Minced Chives (or more if you please)
Fresh Cracked Pepper, To Taste
1C Fresh Pomegranate Arils (enough to cover the ball; dried cranberries are a good substitute)
Various Styles of Crackers, For Serving

1. Frying the Sage: Heat a skillet over medium heat and add butter. Once it's sizzling, toss in the sage leaves and cook until crispy - flipping once and cooking about 1 minute per side. Remove the sage leaves and place them on a paper towel to crisp up a bit. Set the butter aside.
2. Making the Cheeseball: In the bowl of your electric mixer, combine the cream cheese, mascarpone and cheddar cheese. Beat until combined, and then add in the almonds, sage leaves, remaining butter, salt and pepper. Mix on low speed until combined, about 1 minute, scraping down the sides and the bottom if needed. Take the cheese mixture out of the bowl and mold it into a big ball as best you can. Roll it in plastic wrap and place it in the fridge for 30 minutes.
3. Prepping the Pomegranate: Meanwhile, place the arils on a paper towel and pat them completely dry. Let them sit out while the cheese is chilling to remove as much liquid from them as possible. This will keep the cheeseball pretty, and not wet or slimy.
4. Finishing the Cheeseball: After 30 minutes, mold the cheese into more of a smooth ball. Add the arils to a plate or baking sheet and roll the ball through them, using your hands to press arils into all the cracks and crevices. You will need to gently press so the arils adhere to the cheese. At this time, you can serve it immediately or keep it in the fridge until ready to use. If you want to make it ahead of time, you can rolls the ball 1 to 2 days beforehand. I'd wait until the night before or morning of to add the pomegranate arils, and you may need to let the cheese come to room temp a bit so it's sticky enough.
5. Serve with various types of crackers and enjoy with friends + family!

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