Rum Chevre Log with Hazelnuts and Rosemary with Dried Cherry Compote

½ lb. Philadelphia cream cheese, room temperature
1 lb. high quality chevre goat cheese, well chilled
3 T. dark rum
1 T. high quality sea salt

1 c. toasted ground hazelnuts, husks removed (can use walnuts or pecans too)
3 T. finely chopped fresh rosemary.

Whip the cream cheese in a mixer with the whip attachment until light and fluffy.  Add in the cold goat cheese a bit at a time, seasoning with the salt alternatively.  Once incorporated, add in the run and let it homogenize.

Lay out long sheets of plastic wrap.  Put half of the cheese mixture in the center and fold the wrap over it, having plenty of extra left over.  Use the wrap to coax the cheese into 2 logs.  Refrigerate until they set up.

Mix the ground nuts with the rosemary and lay the mix out on a cookie sheet or sheet tray.  Gently unwrap the cheese logs and roll them in the nut mix, transfer them to a platter, and pour the Dried Cherry Compote over the top.  Serve with crackers or crostini.

Dried Cherry Compote

8 oz. tart or sweet dried cherries
1 ½ c. sweet white wine such as Riesling or Moscato
½ c. pure cane sugar
pinch kosher salt

In a saucepot, combine all of the ingredients.  Bring to a simmer and cut the heat to very low and continue to simmer until the mixture becomes thick.  Remove from heat and let stand until the cherries are plump and at room temp.  Serve as a sauce for grilled meats, patés, or even some desserts.

Good wines for chevre:  Sancerre, Vouvray, White Burgundy, Semillon

from Keith Lack Holiday Hors d’Oeuvres

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