Cheese – milk’s leap toward immortality. Clifton Fadiman
As part of our CHEESE PLATTER ON A BUDGET, here is an easy homemade flavoured cream cheese that can fill in as a soft cheese on your cheese board.
Herbed cheeses are a great hit, and particularly easy to make. As a kid my brother and I were addicted to Boursin garlic and herbed cheese on toast. It was the one thing that remained constant amongst my many childhood food habits. My eyes still light up at the sight of this precious white package.
However, living in Ahmedabad, we haven’t been privy to such exotic cheeses in the market and I have been forced to recreate it at home. This is also a great addition to a fancy cheese platter and a great crowd-pleaser. This takes all but 5 minutes to make and can be made hours or a day in advance, easing up the day of the party.
I use Amul cream cheese with a hint of expensive blue cheese and speckle them with fresh and dried herbs. I then roll the ball over dried green herbs and sprinkle a good amount of dried thyme and nuts on top for a fancy touch.
You can also make this into a sweeter version, if you are not serving a sweet preserve on the platter. For this, you can add in chopped cranberries, raisins, lemon or orange zest, and pair with walnuts or pecans.
Amul Cream Cheese (200g): Rs. 75
Danish Blue Cheese (100g): Rs. 350 (but you are using half or less = Rs. 175)
Serves Yields: 1 cup | Prep Time: 5 mins
- 200g cream cheese
- 30-50g blue cheese (depending on how strong you want it)
- 1-4 tbsp butter, soft (depending on how firm you want the cheese to be)
- 2 tsp dried mix herbs (parsley, thyme, rosemary)
- 2-4 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tsp dried thyme for garnish
- walnuts, pecans or pine nuts, chopped
- In a bowl combine the cream cheese with all the ingredients and whisk well.
- Transfer the cheese to the centre of a cling film wrap. Gently create a ball shape with the wrap and twist the edges of the wrap to firmly shut, and fasten with a rubber band if necessary. (See picture below)
- Place in a rounded bowl to maintain it’s shape.
- Set in the fridge for at least 3-4 hours.
- To set on the platter, sprinkle the dried thyme and nuts on a flat dish.
- Unwrap the cheese ball and roll it on the dish to coat with the thyme and nuts.
- Set the cheese on the serving board.
- TIP: Set this cheese ball onto the platter at least 20 minutes before serving to bring to room temperature.
- NOTE: If you use less butter (like I did), then the cheese will not firm up as much into a ball, especially as the Amul cream cheese is a lot softer than Philadelphia cream cheese. So, I serve it in a small bowl, topped with dried thyme and pecans.