Apple Pecan Cheeseball
½ cup (125 mL) chopped U.S. Gala or Granny Smith Apple (about ½ apple)
½ lemon, juiced and divided
8 oz (250 g) brick-style cream cheese, cubed
1 cup (250 mL) grated extra old Cheddar cheese
1 tbsp (15 mL) apple jelly or apple butter
1 tsp (5 mL) chopped fresh rosemary or thyme leaves
1 cup (250 mL) chopped toasted pecans (approx.)
4 to 5 additional U.S. Gala or Granny Smith apples, sliced
Crackers or toasts
- Place chopped apple and ½ tsp (2 mL) lemon juice in food processor; pulse until finely chopped. Add cream cheese, Cheddar cheese, apple jelly and rosemary; pulse until uniformly combined.
- Scrape out onto a large piece of plastic wrap; roughly form into a ball and chill for at least 2 hours or until almost firm.
- Spread pecans in a shallow bowl; roll cheese ball in nuts, pressing into all sides until well coated. Chill until ready to serve (or for up to 4 days).
- Meanwhile, combine any remaining lemon juice with water in a shallow bowl. Dip sliced apples in lemon water (to keep them from browning); pat dry and place around cheese ball along with crackers to serve.
To toast pecans, spread on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake at 350°F (180°C) for 8 minutes or until fragrant. Walnuts can be used instead if preferred.
Make mini cheese balls: Once the mixture is firm enough to shape, form 1 tbsp (15 mL) portions into balls. Coat balls in pecans. Insert a pretzel stick for a ‘stem’ if desired and chill until ready to serve. Makes 22 to 24 balls.
Variation: For a sweeter version replace the apple jelly with 1 tbsp (15 mL) maple syrup and the herbs with 1 tsp (5 mL) ground cinnamon. Just before serving, drizzle cheese ball with additional maple syrup.
PER SERVING (about 2 tbsp/30 mL cheese ball only): 160 calories, 15 g fat, 6 g saturated fat, 30 mg cholesterol, 120 mg sodium, 4 g carbohydrates, 1 g fibre, 2 g sugars, 4 g protein. %DV: 7% calcium, 2% iron, 11% vitamin A, 0% vitamin C.