Many-Cheese Cheese Ball

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This classic crowd-pleaser gets a French twist.

Many Cheese Cheese Ball
Photo: Victor Protasio
Hands On Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
4 hrs 15 mins
Servings:
8

It's basically impossible to resist a cheese ball, and that's doubly the case when the party classic has a little bit of French flair. This appetizer is inspired by the French cheese spread fromage fort, meaning "strong cheese," where bits of leftover cheeses are blended together along with white wine, garlic, and herbs to create a decadent spread.

In this version, a variety of cheeses ranging from soft to firm in texture (basically whatever bits and bobs are hanging around in your fridge) are processed with cream cheese, wine, and pepper, and shaped into a ball before being coated with herbs. It holds its shape at room temperature, so don't be shy about leaving it out alongside other appetizers at your next shindig.

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces assorted cheeses, preferably 3 or 4 varieties (soft and semifirm cheeses cubed at room temperature, firm cheeses grated)

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened

  • 2 tablespoons white wine

  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • teaspoon kosher salt

  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)

  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley or tarragon

  • Crostini, crackers, and/or vegetables, for serving

Directions

  1. Process assorted cheeses in a food processor until smooth, about 30 seconds. Add cream cheese, wine, black pepper, salt, and, if desired, crushed red pepper. Process until combined, scraping down sides of bowl as needed, about 15 seconds.

  2. Place cheese mixture on center of a large piece of plastic wrap. Gather ends of wrap to form cheese mixture into a ball. Secure with a twist tie or rubber band. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to 3 days.

  3. Just before serving, spread chives and parsley on a large cutting board or other work surface. Remove cheese mixture from plastic wrap. Using your hands, reshape mixture into a ball. Roll cheese ball in herbs to coat. Serve with crostini, crackers, and/or vegetables.

To make crostini:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Slice 1 baguette diagonally into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Arrange on a large baking sheet in a single layer. Brush with olive oil on both sides and season with salt. Bake until golden, 16 to 18 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through.

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