This is yet another really old recipe. It’s from Better Foods & Gardens magazine and was the $200 winner in the Prize Tested Recipes® section, submitted by Laurie Robinson from Tonasket, WA, in the “cheesy appetizer category”, October 2002. I just love the combination of cheese, dried fruit and nuts. I used to make it a lot and made it often when we’d have family and friends over for Sukkot (read more about this Jewish holiday here) and even part of our breaking-the-fast meal. It’s light and easy and reminds me of fall.
Tony’s sister Kelly was particularly fond of it. Then one time her husband asked me what it was called and I said, “Fruited Cheese Log” and he thought that was the funniest thing ever. He was like, “it’s really good, but you gotta change the name. There’s nothing appetizing about a log of cheese.” So then of course, every time I’d pull out the recipe after that, I’d think “there’s nothing appetizing about a log of cheese” and I’d put the recipe back.
Well, I’m going to tell you…this particular log of cheese is appetizing. In fact, it’s actually quite yummy! I’m proud to say that I’ve brought the recipe out again and will be back in the regular line-up! It’s great spread on crackers or sliced apple. We even “shmeared” it on toasted bagels the other morning.
Fruited Cheese Log
8 ounces (2 cups) shredded Monterey Jack cheese, room temperature
1/2 of an 8-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 cup dried fruit, chopped (Your favorites. I like golden raisins, apricots and cranberries.)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup toasted almonds (pistachios are good too!)
Place jack cheese, cream cheese and orange juice in a medium bowl. Beat with an electric mixture (or use the paddle attachment of a stand mixer) until thoroughly combined. Stir in dried fruit.
Divide mixture in half. On a large piece of waxed paper, shape one portion of the mixture into a log about 5 inches long. Repeat with remaining portion. Cover and chill for 4 to 24 hours. Roll in nuts before serving. (I’ve found it’s easiest if you let the log sit at room temperature for 15 or so minutes before rolling. Also, if you spread the chopped nuts on plastic wrap, you can use the plastic wrap to “pat” the nut, as you roll the cheese in them, to help stick to the cheese.)
Serve with assorted crackers or apple slices.
I’ve kept the extra cheese log in the fridge for a week or so.