Recipe for the best pumpkin cheese ball

PICTURED: ANDREW BUI; CULINARY STYLING: BROOKE CAISON

Equal parts retro and cult classic, it’s hard to go wrong with a cheese ball. This festive take on pumpkin may not contain pumpkin, but it’s full of fresh herbs, chopped jalapeño and, of course, lots of cheese. It has all the bold, salty, creamy flavors you expect from a good ball of cheese, but it’s also totally adjustable to your personal tastes.

As long as you’ve mastered the pumpkin forming technique (and it really only takes a bit of plastic wrap and some rubber bands), you can mix and match cheese ball flavors however you like. We’ll break down some options below.

Cheese

We recommend saving this base of cream cheese and goat cheese for structure, but any of your favorite hard cheeses will do in place of the cheddar. We like something on the tangy or salty side to contrast other cheeses, like Gruyere, Gouda or Asiago.

The herbs

Although you need at least one green onion if you want to make pumpkin tendrils, you can substitute them with fresh or dried herbs. Just be sure to finely chop the fresh herbs to avoid a lumpy cheese ball.

The spice factor

Fresh jalapeño isn’t the only way to add some spice to this appetizer. Chipotles in adobo, ground cayenne pepper or chili powder, or a tablespoon or more of your favorite hot sauce are great options.

The coating

Pretty much any crispy orange snack will do! Just make sure you can crush them completely – the smaller the pieces, the easier they stick to the outside of the cheese ball.

Do it ? Let us know how it went in the comments section below!

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Yields:

8


portions

Preparation time:

0

hours

15

minutes

Total time:

5

hours

0

minutes

8 oz.

cream cheese, softened at room temperature

4 oz.

fresh goat cheese softened at room temperature

2 bed.

grated sharp cheddar (about 8 oz.)

2


green onions, white and light green parts thinly sliced, 1 (6″) dark green piece reserved

1


medium jalapeño, cored, seeded and finely chopped

3 tbsp.

finely chopped chives

1 1/2 tsp.

Worcestershire sauce

Freshly ground black pepper

2/3 tsp.

Cheddar Goldfish, finely crushed

Crackers and sliced ​​raw vegetables, to serve

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  1. In a large bowl, combine cream cheese and goat cheese. Add cheddar cheese, white and light green onion parts, jalapeño, chives and Worcestershire sauce and stir until incorporated; Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Transfer cheese mixture to a large piece of plastic wrap (you may need 2 pieces), cover and form into a large ball. Using 4 rubber bands, create ridges by wrapping them around the ball, dividing them into 8 sections. (You may need to wrap them several times if they’re too big to indent.) Refrigerate at least 4 hours or up to 3 days.
  3. Meanwhile, cut the reserved portion of green onion into long, thin strips and place in a bowl of ice water in the refrigerator. (This will cause them to curl.) When ready to use, pat dry with a paper towel.
  4. To create the pumpkin “stem”, carefully remove the stem from the pepper. Slice the remaining pepper to serve.
  5. Remove rubber bands and plastic wrap from cheese ball and coat with goldfish crumbs. Transfer to a dish and press the stem of the pepper on top. Remove the stem and tuck the ends of the rolled up scallions into the indentation, then replace the stem to secure the scallions in place.
  6. Let the cheese ball soften at room temperature, about 30 minutes. Serve with crackers and sliced ​​vegetables.

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pumpkin-shaped orange cheese ball on a platter with crackers, vegetables and fruits

PICTURED: ANDREW BUI; CULINARY STYLING: BROOKE CAISON

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