Saturday, November 28, 2015

Quince Obatzda (Cheese Spread)

This spread goes perfectly with the quince almond bread. from my previous post. 

As I said then, I've been experiencing some quince recipe mania these past weeks. As a result there will be several posts with the recipe results.

This is a sweet and seasonal flavor riff on traditional Bavarian obatzda, a soft beer and cheese dip. The traditional version of this popular German spread contains a savory mixture of ripe camembert cheese and butter, sometimes beer and different spices are mixed in as well. 

Obatzda is traditionally served with a variety of German bread slices or a large soft pretzel. Often it is also presented on a large platter of meats and sausages as well as thinly cut large slices of daikon radish.

This quince version is a more elegant, sweet, savory interpretation also contains toasted walnuts and is the perfect appetizer for your winter holiday guests. The quince and camembert cheese flavor work so well together,  the only seasoning needed is salt and freshly ground pepper. The fresh quince are caramelized in brown sugar for maximum flavor. Walnut pieces are toasted to release their deeper flavor and when added to the cheese mixture, provide additional crunch.

Quince Obatzda (Cheese Spread)
Prep Time: 20 minutes 
Cook Time: 20 minutes 
Yield: serves 8
  • 3 tablespoons chopped raw walnuts
  • 1 quince
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 5 ounces camembert cheese, room temperature 4 oz cream cheese, room temperature 
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter Salt and pepper to taste
  • Place a small naked frying pan over a low flame. After the pan has heated up, place the walnuts in the pan. Stir the nuts until they become lightly browned. Make sure you watch them closely as they can burn very quickly. Remove the toasted walnut pieces from the pan and set aside. 
  • Peel, quarter and core the fresh quince. The core can be difficult to remove and some of the pieces are transparent. Make sure you remove all of it. 
  • Cut the fruit into very small pieces. 
  • Add the fresh quince pieces to the small pan, sprinkle with the brown sugar and cook,
  • stirring frequently until the quince has become caramelized. Remove the fruit from theLo heat and let cool completely. 
  • Cut the camembert cheese into small pieces. Add the camembert pieces to a bowl with the room temperature cream cheese. Use a fork to mix both ingredients together thoroughly. 
  • Add 2 tablespoons of the toasted walnuts and the caramelized quince and mix both ingredients into the cheese mixture until everything is thoroughly incorporated. 
  • Season with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste and mix again. 
  • Transfer the mixture to a ramekin or a small decorative bowl Cover the bowl with plastic cling film and chill until ready to serve. Garnish with the remaining tablespoon of toasted walnuts before serving.

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