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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Apple-Cheese Spread

Apple-Cheese Spread
Welcome to the September edition of Progressive Eats. Today our menu celebrates the diversity of apples! I know I've mentioned once or fifteen times before, so I will refrain from reciting my fond memories of apple picking in the crisp fall air. But I do love me some apples.

I've already dipped into the apple tree a few times this season, sharing a couple of desserts like Fried Apple Hand Pies and Whiskey Caramel Apple Pie, a savory Tangled Apple, Pistachio, and Golden Raisin Salad, and even an apple-infused drink with my Apple Pie Hot Toddy. So yeah, I'm not afraid to use ALLTHEAPPLES!

I've got another savory dish for you today—a simple spread, actually. It's great for munching on with crackers or toast while you're watching a game or reading a book, but I also think it would be the perfect appetizer addition to your Thanksgiving menu. The sweet, rich caramelized shallots in sherry are really the key to highlighting the flavor of the apples, so don't skip that step.

If you're on the hunt for more ways to use apples this year, both savory and sweet, check out the rest of the Progressive Eats menu at the bottom of this post.

Apple-Cheese Spread
Enjoy this rich and creamy apple-cheese spread with caramelized shallots and brandy on crackers as a delicious fall appetizer.
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Apple-Cheese Spread
by Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez
Prep Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes (mostly unattended)
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Keywords: appetizer cheese condiment vegetarian soy-free nut-free apples cheese alcohol American fall winter

Ingredients (2 1/2 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon unsalted butter
  • 2 large shallots, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped (or 1 teaspoon dried)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 2 tablespoon brandy or sherry
  • 8 ounces cream cheese (full-fat or neufchatel, not fat-free), at room temperature
  • 4 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 medium crisp apple, tart or sweet
Heat the butter in a small, nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and cook until caramelized, ~30 minutes or so. Stir in the thyme, salt and pepper; add the brandy or sherry. Let cook until the alcohol has evaporated, 1 minute or so. Set aside and allow to cool completely.

Beat the cream cheese, cheddar, and reserved shallot mixture together until well-combined.

Shred the apple on the large holes of a box grater, until just the apple core remains. Use a rubber spatula to stir the apple and into the beaten cheese mixture. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.

Transfer to a serving dish and chill for at least 1 hour before serving.

-inspired by a recipe of the same name in The Apple Cookbook by Olwen Woodier
Apple-Cheese Spread
Progressive Eats - theme: apples
Welcome to Progressive Eats, our virtual version of a Progressive Dinner Party. This month's theme is all about Apples and is hosted by Liz Berg who blogs at That Skinny Chick Can Bake. With Autumn’s arrival, it’s the perfect time to start using fall’s harvest in our menus. We have some great ideas this month to use apples in all sorts of dishes, from Appetizers to Dessert.

Savory Apple Dishes:

Sweet Apple Dishes:

If you're unfamiliar with the concept, a progressive dinner involves going from house to house, enjoying a different course at each location. With Progressive Eats, a theme is chosen each month, members share recipes suitable for a delicious meal or party, and you can hop from blog to blog to check them out.

We have a core group of 12 bloggers, but we will always need substitutes and if there is enough interest would consider additional groups. To see our upcoming themes and how you can participate, please check out the schedule at Creative Culinary or contact Barb for more information.

Are you as apple crazy as I am? Check out my Apple Pinterest Board for more great recipes and ideas!
Follow Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez's board Apples! on Pinterest.