This weekend was beautiful, which reminded me that life is beautiful, which is (part of the reason) why I made pounded cheese.
The other part of the reason is that The (Not So) New Girl found me a secret foodie brain twin named Jesse, and we’re pretty much BFFs who have never met. She was kind enough to let me borrow her new fave cookbook, which she didn’t know I had been checking out online anyway. Even more kind was that she made a note of recipes I should try. Within a half hour of receiving this little surprise, I had flagged Jesse’s recipes, and a whole bunch more.
I knew the only acceptable starting place in terms of my plan of attack on this book was pounded cheese. We enjoyed this outside, on the deck, on the most glorious Saturday evening that ever existed. It was gone in no time at all.
To make Old-Fashioned Pounded Cheese with Walnuts and Port Syrup for 6, you will need:
- 1/2 C port wine
- 1 T (packed) light brown sugar
- 7 oz. aged cheddar cheese (3 years old or more), at room temperature
- 6 T (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, cool but not cold
- 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
- 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- pinch of cayenne pepper
- 1/3 C walnut halves, toasted
To make the port syrup, combine the port and brown sugar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Simmer gently until reduced to a syrup, which will take a few minutes. You’re looking for the consistency of maple syrup. Set aside and let cool to room temperature.
Break the cheddar cheese into chunks and drop them into a food processor fitted with steel blade. Process until pureed. Add the butter, mustard, black pepper, and cayenne, and process, stopping often to scrape down the sides, until whipped and smooth.
Transfer the cheese to a shallow dish, break up the walnut halves, and drop them on top, and drizzle with port syrup.
Serve with crackers, or small pieces of (sourdough) toast.
*To make a few hours early, simply leave cheese at room temperature. To make a day ahead, prepare, stopping short of garnishing with nuts and sryup. Put cheese in fridge, and the day you want to serve, let come to room temperature before garnishing.