Cheddar & Strawberry Tart

Christmas Party season is here and, once again, I have a great recipe to share with you from first party of the season. Each year, Jeff’s boss hosts the staff at his home in Oxford. His wife, Heather, and her mother do all of the cooking. She is definitely a foodie (I can always spot them) and she prepared a variety of hors d’oeuvres, perfect for munching and mingling. This year’s spread consisted of smoked pork tenderloin, a trio of hot dips, sweet & spicy shrimp skewers and veggies, but the showstopper was this beautiful cheese tart atop a cake plate in the middle of the table.

The perfect combination of savory and sweet, accompanied by the crunch and nutty flavor of the toasted pecans – it is very simple to prepare, using only a handful of ingredients.

(Also, seen in the background of this picture is a great idea for serving mixed veggies at a party- in 5oz party cups with a creamy ranch dip or hummus. Veggie platters tend to slow down the food line, so this grab-and-go idea is a great way to keep it moving!)

 

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. sharp cheddar cheese (I prefer to shred cheese from a block, it has better flavor)
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 small onion, grated
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 small jar strawberry preserves

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Instructions

Lightly toast the pecans in the oven at 350 degrees or in a microwave. Let cool completely.

Mix cheese, pecans, mayonnaise, onion, black pepper and cayenne pepper in a medium mixing bowl. Mix with a wooden spoon until thoroughly combined.

Lightly grease a bundt pan. Empty mixture into bundt pan. Using your hands, press mixture into bottom of bundt pan, so that it will maintain shape when turned over. It will be shallow in the bottom of the bundt. Place in refrigerator for 30 minutes prior to serving.

Flip bundt pan onto serving platter. Place strawberry preserves in the center of the ring. Sprinkle with the additional pecans (optional). Serve with a cheese spreader and assorted crackers. Keeps well for a few days in the refrigerator.

(In this photo, a Duncan Hines Tiara Dessert Pan was used. This type of pan is hard to find these days but it provides a beautiful presentation for this tart.)

 

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