The Turducken of Cheese Balls Recipe

The Turducken of Cheese Balls
Difficulty: Medium | Total Time: | Makes: 24 servings as an hors d'oeuvre

This project started out as a half-baked idea to see what would happen if you stuffed cheese inside another cheese inside another cheese inside another cheese, ad infinitum. But after testing it and seeing people’s reactions, we realized this epic cheese ball idea might actually be a legit holiday party recipe. To make the massive 12-layer cheese ball, you’ll start with a small core of washed or bloomy-rind cheese, then layer around it mixtures of grated and crumbled cheeses whipped with cream cheese, coating each layer with a complementary crust of nuts, fruit, cured meats, or herbs. Make sure you’ve invited plenty of guests over to eat it: This appetizer weighs in at about five pounds.

What to buy: Spanish chorizo (not to be confused with its Mexican counterpart) is a dried, smoked, ready-to-eat pork sausage. It can be mild or spicy, and is found at gourmet markets or online. If you can’t find Spanish chorizo, you can sub in some andouille sausage.

Game plan: To serve the Turducken of Cheese Balls, we recommend cutting and removing a wedge so your guests can see all of the layers; then simply lay out some crackers and a bunch of knives so people can attack the cheese ball as they please.

For a behind-the scenes look at how we built the Turducken of Cheese Balls—including a nifty cross-section animation—... read more

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 (4-ounce) washed or bloomy-rind semifirm cheese (about 2 inches in height, length, and width), such as Bucheret
  • 3 cups plus 2 tablespoons cream cheese (about 25 ounces)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup small-dice Spanish chorizo (about 1 1/2 ounces)
  • 1 cup shredded Manchego cheese (about 3 ounces)
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped dried figs (about 4 ounces)
  • 1 cup shredded Emmentaler cheese (about 2 1/2 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped chives
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese (about 5 ounces)
  • 3/4 cup small-dice Asian pear (from 1 medium pear)
  • 3/4 cup crumbled blue cheese (about 4 ounces)
  • 1 1/4 cups walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped (about 3 1/4 ounces)
  • 1 1/4 cups chèvre (fresh goat cheese; about 9 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted (about 2 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped (about 2 1/4 ounces)
  • 3 slices cooked thick-cut bacon, small dice
  • Crackers or sliced baguette, for serving
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Spread the top and sides (but not the bottom) of the washed or bloomy-rind cheese with 2 tablespoons of the cream cheese. Place on a work surface and generously season all over with pepper. Firmly press the chorizo into the cream cheese.
  2. Place the Manchego and 1/2 cup of the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until combined, about 30 seconds. Using a rubber spatula, scrape the mixture into your hands and form it into a thin disk large enough to drape over and completely encase the chorizo layer. (You will not need to wash out the mixer in between layers.) Drape the Manchego disk over the chorizo layer and press firmly on all sides so that it adheres. Firmly press the figs into the Manchego layer.
  3. Place the Emmentaler and 1/2 cup of the cream cheese into the mixer bowl and beat on medium speed until combined, about 30 seconds. Using the rubber spatula, scrape the mixture into your hands and form it into a thin disk large enough to drape over and completely encase the fig layer. Drape the Emmentaler disk over the fig layer and press firmly on all sides so that it adheres. Combine the parsley and chives in a small bowl and firmly press the mixture into the Emmentaler layer.
  4. Place the cheddar and 1/2 cup of the cream cheese into the mixer bowl and beat on medium speed until combined, about 30 seconds. Using the rubber spatula, scrape the mixture into your hands and form it into a thin disk large enough to drape over and completely encase the herb layer. Drape the cheddar disk over the herb layer and press firmly on all sides so that it adheres. Firmly press the Asian pear into the cheddar layer.
  5. Place the blue cheese and 3/4 cup of the cream cheese into the mixer bowl and beat on medium speed until combined, about 30 seconds. Using the rubber spatula, scrape the mixture into your hands and press it evenly over the Asian pear to completely encase the Asian pear layer. Firmly press the walnuts into the blue cheese layer.
  6. Place the goat cheese and the remaining 3/4 cup of cream cheese into the mixer bowl and beat on medium speed until combined, about 30 seconds. Using the rubber spatula, scrape the mixture into your hands and press it evenly over the walnuts to completely encase the walnut layer. Combine the almonds, pecans, and bacon in a small bowl and firmly press the mixture into the goat cheese layer.
  7. Using an offset or large, sturdy flat spatula, transfer the cheese ball to a serving plate. Serve with crackers or slices of baguette. If not serving immediately, cover and refrigerate. Allow the refrigerated cheese ball to sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before serving.