Amy Thielen’s Old-Fashioned Pounded Cheese with Walnuts and Port Syrup

Midwestern Port Wine Cheese: Cheese You Can Eat With a Spoon

Amy Thielen’s Old-Fashioned Pounded Cheese with Walnuts and Port Syrup
This port wine cheese recipe is adapted from The New Midwestern Table by Amy Thielen. Buy it here.Eric Kim

Equipment

Amy Thielen’s Old-Fashioned Pounded Cheese with Walnuts and Port Syrup
Is port wine cheese the Midwest’s unifying nostalgic food? Check out Amy Thielen’s version of the beloved Dairy State classic.
Yield: makes 1 1/2 cups
Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 12 cup ruby port
  • 1 Tbsp. packed light brown sugar
  • 7 oz. aged cheddar cheese (3 years old or more), at room temperature
  • 6 Tbsp. (3 oz.) salted butter, softened
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 14 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 13 cup walnut halves, toasted* and broken into pieces
  • Bread or crackers, for serving

Instructions

  1. Make the port syrup: To a small pot over medium-high heat, add the port and brown sugar. Bring to a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar, then cook until the liquid has reduced to a light syrup, 7–9 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool to room temperature (it will thicken further as it sits).
  2. Break the cheese into chunks and transfer to the bowl of a food processor. Process the cheese until pureed, then add the butter, mustard, black pepper, and cayenne and continue processing, stopping often to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a silicone spatula, until the paste is whipped and very smooth. Transfer the cheese to a shallow serving dish, then sprinkle with walnut pieces, and drizzle with the port syrup. Serve at room temperature, with bread or crackers.

Note: Pounded cheese can be made a few hours ahead and kept at room temperature; or it can be made the day before and stored in an airtight container in the fridge. Just be sure to bring it back to room temperature before serving.

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