A while back I posted on making your own chocolate neufchâtel
– a chocolate cream cheese spread. My initial reason for making the chocolate version from scratch many years ago was because the chocolate neufchatel I purchased once was terribly expensive.
I haven’t seen it around anymore, although I spotted a variety on IGourmet.com this morning. It’s made by Westfield Farm, and it’s purely a chocolate-flavored goat cheese. Pure bliss!
In any case, chocolate neufchâtel is wonderful to serve for something slightly sweet on a table of hors d’oeuvres, as is this strawberry version. I use the name neufchâtel only because it sounds nicer than cream cheese. They’re both firm and creamy, although American cream cheese also contains cream; the taste difference is negligible.
I had a little leftover jam from when I used my new jam and jelly maker last week, and decided to use it to make the strawberry cream cheese. I could have also added some goat cheese for a little zing, like I did with my chocolate version, but today’s will be only cream cheese.
Besides being delicious, strawberry cream cheese/neufchâtel is very pretty, especially in the spring and summer for parties and showers. You can make a very similar strawberry cream cheese with sweetened fresh strawberries, but today I’m simply using the jam I made, a strawberry vanilla jam. It’s so simple.
Strawberry Vanilla Neufchâtel
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup strawberry jam
Place the cream cheese and butter in a medium-sized bowl and add the jam.
Blend the ingredients together until they’re smooth.
Place a piece of plastic wrap on a counter, and plop the strawberry cream cheese onto the plastic. Working carefully, with your fingers underneath the plastic wrap, carefully form the cream cheese into a log shape, wrapping it in the plastic at the same time. If it’s not working properly, you probably need to chill the cheese more.
When ready to serve, unwrap the cheese and place on a serving platter. The plastic should come off easily; the butter helps with that step.
You could sprinkle a little powdered sugar on top, toasted walnuts, candied pecans, or pearl sugar. Or, if you wish, you could also add a little more of the jam on top.
But I really like it as is, with just the slight sweetness of the strawberries!
note: Taste the cream cheese when you’re making it, because the flavor of the resulting spread, no matter what shape you form it in, will taste the same. If you want more sweetness, add some sieved powdered sugar. Don’t go crazy with adding the jam; in fact, I wouldn’t use any more of the jam to cream cheese and butter ratio than I did. Otherwise you run the risk of the cream cheese not firming up. Jam doesn’t firm up – cream cheese and butter do!