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Date, Pecan, and Bacon Cheese Ball with Curried Peach Preserves

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Ingredients

¼ cup high-quality blue cheese (such as Maytag)

⅓ cup unsalted butter

¼ cup fresh goat cheese

¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons cream cheese

2 tablespoons butter, divided

¼ cup roughly chopped pecans

¼ cup chopped dated

¼ teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons finely chopped scallions (both white and green parts)

3 slices bacon

2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley

Note: This recipe calls for dates. Please do not use pre-chopped dates from a bag. They are covered in sugar and taste like sweet cardboard. Use whole, dried dates and remove the pits.

Curried Peach Preserves

3 pounds ripe freestone peaches

2 pounds granulated sugar

1 tablespoon madras curry powder

Zest of 1 lime (removed with a vegetable peeler)

1-inch piece fresh ginger (peeled and sliced super thin)

¼ cup lime juice

2 tablespoons orange juice

½ teaspoon salt

Directions

Cheese Ball

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove the blue cheese, butter, goat cheese, and cream cheese from the refrigerator to soften them.
  2. Toss together 2 teaspoons of melted butter, ¼ teaspoon salt, and pecans on a baking sheet. Spread the pecans out in a single layer and roast for about 8 minutes. Once you begin to smell the pecans, remove the nuts from the oven and allow them to cool.
  3. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine all the ingredients except the bacon and the parsley. Paddle it up till homogenous.
  4. At this point you’re looking at a pretty loose cheese spread. In order to form this stuff into a ball, transfer the bowl to the refrigerator for 15 minutes or so.
  5. Using the method that best suits you, cook your favorite bacon until crisp. Let it cool and crumble it up. You should end up with about ¼ cup bacon crumbles.
  6. Once the cheese mixture is stiff enough to hold up, form your ball and roll it in bacon followed by parsley.

Curried Peach Preserves

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and set up an ice bath nearby. Make an X in the bottom of each peach. Drop the peaches, maybe 5 at a time, into the water and allow them to boil for up to 1 minute. Be careful not to cook the peaches, but make sure the skin is beginning to peel away from the flesh. Remove the peaches from the boiling water and drop them into the ice bath. Once all the peaches have been shocked in ice water, start peeling them using the X as a guide.
  2. In a bowl large enough to hold all the ingredients, mix together the sugar, curry powder, zests, and ginger. Start cutting the peaches into ½-inch wedges and dropping them into the bowl with the curried sugar. Once you’ve wedged all the peaches, toss them thoroughly with the sugar mixture. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow it to sit at room temperature overnight.
  3. The next day, transfer the contents of the bowl to a large, heavy-bottomed pot. Bring the peach mixture up to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes. Spoon a little of the preserves onto a cold plate. Transfer the plate to the refrigerator for a minute or two and test the viscosity of the preserves. Ideally you are looking for something that’s the consistency of thick molasses. If you’re there, stir in the juices and the salt. If you’re not, cook 10 minutes more, then stir in the juice and salt.
  4. The preserves will keep covered in the refrigerator for up to 6 months. Alternately, you can them in a hot-water bath according to basic canning instructions.
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