1950s-Style Cheese LogJuly 23, 2018
From the 1950s through the 1970s, cheese balls felt right at home sitting next to a dry martini.
For the cheese ball:
8 ounce cream cheese, softened
8 ounces finely grated sharp cheddar cheese
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
3 tablespoons port wine, sherry, cognac, or whiskey
1 to 3 tablespoon room temperature butter, if needed
For the coating:
¾ cup combined chopped roasted nuts and chopped dried fruit of choice
bell peppers, carrots, radishes, grapes, and Ritz crackers
Place the cream cheese in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Process or beat until light and fluffy in texture, 30 seconds to 1 minute.
Add the grated cheddar cheese and process for 30 to 45 seconds. Stop the machine and scrape down the side of the bowl. It should be very smooth and completely combined. If it is not, process or mix another 30 seconds.
Add the garlic and the liquor of choice. Process until the mixture is completely smooth and the mixture is thick and fluffy – about one full minute or more. Stop the machine and scrape down the side of the bowl.
If the mixture has become runny (like salad dressing or yogurt), add 1 tablespoon room-temperature butter at a time and process or beat until completely incorporated, fully processing or beating between each addition.
Scoop the mixture into a mound. Place a large piece of plastic wrap about 12 by 16 inches on a work surface. Using a large spoon, transfer the mixture into a mound in the center of the plastic wrap.
Shape it into ball or log using plastic wrap. Lift up 2 opposite sides of the plastic wrap and cover the sides of the cheese mixture. Place your cupped hands against the plastic wrap, and gently press the mixture into a round. Lift up the remaining plastic, one piece at a time, and cover all sides of the cheese round. Shape it into a ball. Collect all the plastic pieces at the top and twist them together, creating a bundle that looks like a tied sack or pouch.
Wrap the plastic-wrapped cheese ball completely in aluminum foil and shape again with your hands. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to 6 days.
Before serving, pour the coating into a rimmed baking sheet and spread into an even layer. Remove the cheese ball from the refrigerator, unwrap completely, and place on the topping. Gently roll to coat. Pat the sides and top well to ensure a full coating. (Wrapped in plastic and then foil – but without rolling in the topping, a cheese ball will keep for up to a week.)
Place the cheese ball on a serving tray or platter with a selection of vegetables, crackers, clusters of grapes. Set out small cheese knives or butter knives for spreading and serve.
Makes 1 4-inch cheese ball, serving 6 to 8
(adapted from Kitchn)