Old-Fashioned Pounded Cheese With Walnuts and Port Syrup

"This recipe is basically a deconstructed cheese ball. The success of this simple spread depends on the quality of the cheese you use—the older and more velvety it is, the more distinctive the spread will be. Before beginning, make sure that the cheese is at room temperature and the butter a touch colder. It should have the consistency of putty, not rock-hard but firmer than mayonnaise—what a French chef would call beurre pommade. This can be served with bread, but I think it’s actually best with crackers. Original recipe from Amy Thielen's The New Midwestern Table: http://bit.ly/15BfWIf"
photo by AmyThielen photo by AmyThielen
photo by AmyThielen
Ready In:
1 1/2 cups




  • 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 light syrup (it will start to throw bigger bubbles and should be the consistency of maple syrup), about 3 minutes. Let cool to room temperature.
  • Break the cheddar cheese into chunks and drop them into a food processor. 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 the port syrup.
  • Note: The pounded cheese can be made a few hours ahead and kept at room temperature. Or it can be made the day before and kept in the refrigerator; just be sure to bring it back to room temperature before garnishing with the port syrup and nuts.

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<p class=p1>I&rsquo;m a chef, a cooking teacher, a recipe developer, a writer, a cookbook author (the upcoming THE NEW MIDWESTERN TABLE), and host of HEARTLAND TABLE on Food Network. I grew up in Minnesota but spent 7 years cooking professionally in New York in fine dining kitchens. I am also a wife and a mom who shoulders some pretty heavy cooking duties. In other words, I may be a former professional but I also cook three meals a day. &nbsp;</p>
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