If I could invite three characters from literature to lunch, the invitees would have to be L.M. Montgomery’s irrepressible Anne Shirley, P.D. James’ enigmatic Adam Dagliesh, and A.A. Milne’s brooding Eeyore. (Pippi Longstocking has an open invitation to drop by any time.)
A Cheddar Chutney Cheese Roll would be on the table – and none of the guests would consider it retro or out of season.
I’d serve it with some crackers or good bread and crisp apples, with time to linger in conversation.
This version of the traditional cheese ball adds a bit of chutney and chili pepper flakes for warmth, and old cheddar for bit of bite. I use dried onion flakes instead of fresh onion in this recipe, as the flavor of fresh onions intensifies and will overpower everything.
The cheese mixture is soft and very spreadable. It’s best to make it at least one day before you plan to serve it in order to give the flavors a chance to meld. It will also need time to firm up before you can shape it and roll in chopped, toasted pecans.
The recipe will yield three six-inch rolls about two inches in diameter. Make one to serve today and freeze the others for up to two months.
- 1 8-oz / 225 g package cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 cup / 60 ml butter, softened
- 2 cups / 500 ml grated Cheddar (old Cheddar is best)
- 1/4 cup / 60 ml chutney (Major Grey works well)
- 1/4 teaspoon / 1.25 ml ground pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon / 2.5 ml dried chili pepper flakes
- 1-1/2 teaspoons / 7.5 ml dried onion flakes
- 1 cup / 250 ml pecans - toasted (see note) and chopped
Using a stand or hand mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter until thoroughly blended
Add chutney and continue beating until it is incorporated.
Add remaining ingredients except pecans and beat for 1-2 minutes until well mixed.
Refrigerate overnight or for at least 12 hours before forming into rolls.
Place 1/3 of the cheese mixture on a piece of parchment paper. The mixture will be sticky. Use the parchment paper to help you form it into a roll about 6 inches long and 2 inches in diameter.
Sprinkle 1/3 of the pecans over the roll and continue rolling in the parchment until the roll is covered with the pecans
Repeat with the remaining cheese and pecans.
Wrap each roll in plastic wrap and store in the fridge until you are ready to serve.
The rolls can be frozen for up to two months. Leave at room temperature for 1/2 an hour before serving.
You can toast pecans in a preheated 350 degree oven, or in a pan on the stovetop.
To toast them in the oven, place the nuts on a parchment-lined baking sheet in the preheated oven and bake for about 5 minutes. They will develop a nice 'nutty' aroma as they toast. Watch carefully as they burn easily. Remove them from the baking pan as soon as they are out of the oven, as they will continue to cook with the remaining heat from the pan
I prefer to toast nuts on the stovetop so that I can keep a closer eye on them. Put the nuts in a pan or skillet and place on medium-low burner. Stir occasionally until the nuts begin to brown and smell aromatic. Remove from the heat.