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Cheddar and Blue Cheese Terrine

January 19, 2010

by Elizabeth

Cheese plates rank really, really high on my list of favorite foods. Once I spot one on a menu, I tend to ignore my other options. I mean really, isn’t a cheese plate almost always better than bo-ring shrimp cocktail or calamari or salad? Honestly, I will choose one restaurant over another SOLELY because of a cheese plate. I’ll even order a cheese plate in a bar – no shame.

But since I am not interested in paying $14 for five bites of cheese every time I crave it (which is practically every day), I most often eat my cheese at home. Preferably with a glass of wine and my best girlfriends. A wedge of triple cream brie, a fresh baguette, and a drizzle of truffle oil – I’m telling you, best.dinner.ever.

One of my favorite things about cheese plates is the infinite number of ways you can dress them up. You can use a variety of imported or interesting cheeses, or pair them with lavender honey, balsamic jelly, blood orange marmalade, or figs to add another flavor dimension. I loved this terrine because it was an unexpected addition to the cheese plate, and it had nuts and dried fruit – two typical cheese plate accompaniments – subtly layered between the cheddar and blue cheeses. No need to pair it with anything else. Think of it as much chicer, updated version of the ubiquitous, ho-hum cheese ball.

Cheddar and Blue Cheese Terrine

adapted from Bon Appetit

*This made a ridiculous amount of cheese. We served it as an appetizer on Christmas Eve for nine people, and we maybe ate a third of it. Unless you’re having a large party, I would consider halving the recipe and using a mini loaf pan for the mold.

Nonstick vegetable oil spray
1 pound farmhouse cheddar cheese or extra sharp cheddar cheese, coarsely grated – white cheddar would be excellent
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
2 tablespoons dry Sherry (I used white wine)
8 ounces blue cheese – I chose a milder blue
1 1/2  cups pecans , toasted and chopped
6 tablespoons dried cranberries, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
For Serving:
3 Granny Smith apples, halved, cored, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
3 Bosc pears, halved, cored, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Water crackers, preferably 34˚crispbread

Directions:

Line long sides and bottom of 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 1/2-inch loaf pan with parchment paper, leaving 2-inch overhang on both long sides of pan. Spray parchment and short sides of pan with nonstick spray.

Place cheddar, 4 tablespoons butter, and Sherry in large bowl. Using electric mixer, beat on medium speed until blended and smooth, stopping occasionally to scrape down sides of bowl, about 3 minutes. Place blue cheese and remaining 2 tablespoons butter in medium bowl. Using clean beaters, beat until blended and smooth, stopping occasionally to scrape down sides of bowl, 2 to 3 minutes.

Mix 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans, dried cranberries, and chopped thyme in small bowl. Spoon half of cheddar mixture (about 1 1/3 cups) into prepared pan, spreading in even layer. Sprinkle half of walnut mixture (about 1 cup) over in even layer; press gently to adhere. Spoon blue cheese mixture over nut mixture; spread in even layer. Sprinkle remaining walnut mixture over; press gently to adhere. Spread remaining cheddar mixture over nut mixture; smooth top.

Fold parchment overhang down over outside of pan. Place plastic wrap directly onto cheese; press to compact terrine. Chill at least 4 hours.  Can be made 3 days ahead. Keep chilled.

Let terrine stand at room temperature 1 hour before serving. Discard plastic wrap. Run knife across short end of pan to loosen terrine from pan. Place plate atop terrine; invert onto plate. Peel off parchment. Use small metal spatula to smooth surface of terrine.

Serve with fruit and crackers.

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