A cheese pumpkin has absolutely nothing at all to do with fromage. It’s a pumpkin through and through, named a cheese pumpkin because of its beige exterior and slightly flat shape. A close relative of butternut squash, it also has a creamy texture and sweet taste, which makes it the perfect specimen to use for cooking and baking. The ubiquitous jack-o-lantern is just too stringy to use for cakes and pies and no where near as tasty.
1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, room temperature
2 cups (8 oz.) shredded cheddar cheese
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
Pinch of salt
Pinch of smoked paprika
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Flat leaf parsley
Twisted pretzel sticks
Stand mixer: with bowl and paddle attachment
Medium-sized mixing bowl
A pair of spectacularly clean hands
1) Shred the cheddar cheese while cold. Set aside and allow the cheese to come to room temperature.
2) Combine cream cheese, shredded cheddar cheese, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, cayenne pepper and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Scrape down the sides of the bowl to make sure everything is combined. Beat the cheese mixture until smooth.
3) Spread out a few sheets of plastic wrap. Mound the cheese mixture onto the plastic wrap and shape into a ball. Cover with the plastic wrap and chill for about 2 hours.
4) When the cheese ball is firm, remove from the fridge and remove the plastic wrap. Using your spectacularly clean hands, shape the ball until it is as round as possible, then flatten the top slightly.
5) Now the sculpting begins! Using the handle of a plastic spoon, carve the “ribs” of the pumpkin into the cheese ball. Smooth the edges with the spoon.
6) Place the chopped pecans in a bowl and place the cheese pumpkin on top. Press the pecans up along the sides of the cheese pumpkin, about half way.
7) Place cheese pumpkin on a plate. Sprinkle the top of the cheese pumpkin with a pinch of smoked paprika. Add a twisted pretzel stick into the top to resemble the stem. Add flat leaf parsley to resemble the vines and leaves.
8) Serve with your favorite cracker and enjoy!
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