Totally retro, but still delicious and a great addition to any party or buffet table. A cheese ball is really easy to make and the variations are endless. This one is made with goats cheese and served with green olive and roasted red pepper crackers – recipe below.
8oz/227g full fat cream cheese at room temperature
8oz/227g soft goats cheese at room temperature
1 tbs chopped dill
2tsp freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup/175g finely chopped pecans
1/4 cup/50g finely chopped dried cranberries
Crackers for serving – see below for recipe
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, place the room temperature cheeses, dill and 1 tsp of black pepper and mix on low speed until well mixed. Using a spatula, scrape out the cheese mixture, pile onto cling film and form into a ball. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours so it can firm up.
On a plate, spread out the chopped pecans, 1 tsp black pepper and cranberries and roll the ball until fully coated. This is ready to use immediately, otherwise refrigerate for up to 3 days.
Serve with a good chutney, crackers and chilled white wine.
Olive & Roasted Pepper Crackers
Green olives and roasted red peppers make these crackers the perfect accompaniment to the cheese ball
2 cups/280g plain/all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dried oregano
2 oz/57g cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
3 tbs green olives, finely chopped
4 tbsp roasted red peppers, finely chopped – I like to roast my own, but you can buy ready roasted peppers in a jar
1/2 cup/112ml milk
Preheat oven to 190ºC/375°F
Line 2 baking sheets with a non stick liner or parchment paper.
Mix the flour, salt and oregano until well combined.
Add the butter and rub into the flour mixture until it looks like breadcrumbs.
Stir in the chopped olives, roasted red peppers and milk until evenly mixed.
Divide the dough in half. Turn out one half of the dough straight onto the non stick liner and roll out to about ¼” thickness. The thinner they are, the crispier they become and rolling out straight onto the liner means you can roll out the dough very thin. Using a pizza cutter, cut the dough into 2”x2” squares and remove any excess dough to re-roll. They shrink a little as they bake, so you don’t need to worry about them sticking together or having to separate them.
Prick the top of each cracker one or twice and lightly brush tops of crackers with olive oil, finishing with a light sprinkle of sea salt. Repeat with the other half of the dough.
Bake at 190ºC/375°F for up to 25 minutes or until crackers are golden brown. Be careful not to let them burn.
Let the crackers cool completely before serving.
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