pine cone cheese ball
Serendipity is one of the coolest things!
I was honored to be asked to provide the wedding day bridal party lunch for my niece, Maureen. Actually this was the second time I had such an honor, I provided the bridal brunch for Mo’s older sister, Katie, who was married in 2010.
The serendipitous part has to do with a certain cheese ball I served at the lunch…
A week or so before Christmas I had seen an image of a cheese ball, decorated with whole almonds, created to resemble a pine cone. I intended to make it on Christmas day. I had all the ingredients but simply ran out of time.
When I was planning the menu for the bridal lunch, I thought the pine cone cheese ball might be a nice addition.
A few days before we left for Chicago, I received an invitation to the rehearsal dinner. I didn’t make the connection when I saw the pine cones on the invite.
At the rehearsal dinner, I thought the place cards were really cute but still didn’t put two and two together, even though I’d begun to put together the cheese ball earlier that same afternoon.
I loved how the cheese ball turned out and as I was setting up the lunch buffet it finally dawned on me just how perfectly it fit in with the theme.
Later that afternoon, at the wedding, when I looked at the wedding program, I just had to smile. Pine cones were everywhere.
Pine Cone Goat Cheese Ball
3 tablespoons minced fresh Italian parsley leaves
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves
2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Crackers, for serving
Use a standing or hand-held mixer to combine the goat cheese, the cream cheese, the herbs, lemon zest, salt and pepper in a medium bowl until smooth and creamy.
Cover a plate with waxed paper or plastic wrap and transfer the mixture to the plate. Use your hands to shape the cheese into the shape of a pine cone (basically an egg shape) and then decorate with the whole almonds (rounded end pushed into cheese, pointed tip out), as shown.
Refrigerate until the cheese is firm, then carefully transfer to a serving platter and garnish with rosemary springs, places along the top of the pine cone to resemble pine needles.
Serve with crackers.