It seems like I’ve been entertaining a lot lately. I love having company. But what that means is that I have a lot of extra cheese on hand, because I always purchase good cheeses for entertaining.
Inspired by a recipe by Jacques Pepin, I decided to combine all of my leftover cheeses and make a cheese log. Jacques Pepin calls this fromage fort, which literally translates to “strong” cheese.
That’s really a misnomer because there’s nothing strong about this cheese unless you choose to make it strong. It’s all about your choice of cheeses. I used goat cheese, Manchego, and Fontina.
In his book, Chez Jacques, Jacques tells the story about how his father always made crocks of cheeses created by whatever leftover cheeses they had on hand. He also included other things like wine and sometimes garlic. His father’s cheese creations were definitely strong because he aged them for about 1 1/2 weeks in the cellar before serving.
Mrs. Pepin follows the same method of combining leftover cheese to make fromage fort, but unlike the “old” days, uses a food processor. She also adds some cream cheese or cottage cheese if the cheeses are on the dry side. I use butter for that purpose.
I’m not including cheese weights in this “recipe,” because the whole point of making this fromage fort, or potted cheese, is using what you have left over.
Cheese Log with Walnuts
Goat cheese, at room temperature
Manchego, chopped or grated
Fontina, chopped coarsely
Butter, at room temperature
I placed the goat cheese and the grated Manchego and Fontina in a large bowl. Then I added some butter just to make things a little softer and smoother.
I toasted the walnuts. Then I chopped them on a cutting board.
I layed out a piece of plastic wrap on my workspace, and then carefully placed some of the chopped walnuts on the plastic wrap. I did this instead of just pouring the walnuts onto the plastic, because I didn’t want to include the walnut “powder” that comes from chopping the walnuts. I wanted the bigger, cleaner pieces.
I used my hands to mix everything together – it was almost like kneading a greasy bread. It all could have been done in the food processor as well.
Then I formed a log of sorts and pressed it down onto the stretch of walnuts.
Then I added more walnuts, and kept turning over the log until all sides were completely covered with walnuts.
Wrap the log securely and store in the refrigerator.
At least 2 hours before serving, remove the log from the fridge and place on the serving plate. Then let it come to room temperature. Serve with crackers or bread.
This is really good cheese to serve with charcuterie and olives or cornichons, as well as other cheeses.
You don’t have to turn your cheeses into a log. If you prefer, just place the mixture in a crock. But if you stick to the log idea, different nuts can be used. Instead of nuts you could use only chopped herbs in the summer. And, you could use dried fruit as well – think dried cranberries and pistachios for the holidays!!
Do this yourself some time and create a new cheese with your leftovers!