A foodie tip: buy soft cheeses like Brie or Camembert or Fromage D’Affinois whenever they’re on special (the riper the better), wrap them carefully, and stash in the freezer.
They will defrost overnight in the fridge to perfect, non-soggy ooziness for your next dinner party cheese platter. They’re also brilliant on pizzas – D’Affinois makes a particularly decadent topping.
I bought this 1kg wheel of Mon Père from Costco for just $20, cut it into eight wedges and (very carefully) vacuum sealed each piece to prevent freezer burn. I’ve also had great success with just wrapping the cheese tightly in cling film.
Here it is after having been frozen for a week, then defrosted overnight in the fridge…
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While I was at Costco, I also spotted pots of Jean Perrin Fromage des Clarines on special for $4.97. These are normally $20 each (and often more for the ones in ceramic bowls) but a friend told me that the importer had brought in too many for Christmas. With an expiry date of 13th January, they were massively marked down for a quick sale…
Knowing that I could freeze them, I bought four tubs! I stashed three in the freezer and baked one, following Tania’s recipe here…
It was ridiculously moreish…
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And while we’re on the topic…a cheese plate is an integral part of our dinner parties. If you need help assembling one, have a look at Sally’s comprehensive guide on putting one together.
Without fail though, I’m always left with a box of cheesy bits and pieces the following day. I turned leftovers into a cheese pâté recently and it was such a hit that I thought I’d best document it here so that I can find the recipe again next time. It’s basically a riff on the Fromage Fort recipe I posted years ago…
- 300g assorted leftover cheeses – I had a wedge of Cranberry Wensleydale, some 18-month Comte and a small piece of White Pearl Brie (which incidentally had been in the freezer for months, but had defrosted perfectly). It’s worth tasting the cheeses together first to make sure they don’t clash too much.
- 2 cloves garlic
- glug of good white wine
- splash of Kirsch
- black pepper
- walnuts, coarsely chopped
Set up the food processor with the grater blade and grate the hard cheeses into the bowl. Now switch to the chopping blade and add the soft cheeses, peeled and smashed garlic, pepper, wine and Kirsch. Blitz to form a smooth(ish) paste.
Scrape into a bowl and smooth out the top. Cover the surface with chopped walnuts, pressing in gently to stick them on (not shown in photo below, because I got the idea after it was taken).
Serve with crackers or sourdough focaccia.
As I mentioned above, the nuts were a last minute addition, but they made a huge difference to both taste and appearance, and are well worth the extra effort. The addition of the booze seems to help preserve the cheese. I’ve made versions of this with everything from blue to soft, but it might not work with fresh cheeses such as ricotta or mozzarella (because they go off quite quickly).
The pâté should improve with a couple of days’ rest, but I took this to dinner at Kevin and Carol’s place and it was demolished before the night was out!