I have been scribbling a long shopping list and menu ideas this week to prepare for our Christmas Eve dinner at my parents house! I’m making some recipes from my cookbook (the penne a la vodka in the Christmas chapter was requested), but I always love to mix in some new dishes too. I decided to upgrade my cheese plate with a dressed up goat cheese spread; it’s easy to make ahead of time and store in the fridge until you’re ready to serve. It’s dotted with sweet candied pecans and dried fruit, and gets tons of seasonal flavors from fresh rosemary and thyme. I liked how pretty it looks with the colorful flecks in the cheese, and I garnished it for the holidays with a little wreath of rosemary sprigs around the base and a small sprig on top with dried cranberries to look like holly! Get the full recipe below: 

Holiday Goat Cheese Spread.
  • ¼ Cup of Candied Pecans, plus 2 Tbsp. for garnish
  • ¼ Cup of mixed raisins and dried cranberries
  • 5 oz. Goat Cheese
  • 1.5 Tbsp. of Honey
  • 1 Tbsp. of Fresh Rosemary, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. of Fresh Thyme, Chopped
  • Cracked black pepper
  1. Line a ramekin with plastic wrap, and fill the bottom of the bowl with 2 Tbsp. of chopped candied pecans; set aside.
  2. In a small food processor, combine the remaining ¼ cup of candied pecans with raisins and dried cranberries. Pulse until pieces are roughly chopped.
  3. Add goat cheese, honey, rosemary and thyme to the food processor and season well with fresh cracked black pepper. Pulse until the ingredients are just broken down and incorporated.
  4. Use a spatula to transfer the goat cheese mixture from the food processor into the prepared ramekin. Firm press the goat cheese mixture into the ramekin, and then fold the excess plastic wrap over the top to seal it closed.
  5. Chill the goat cheese in the covered ramekin for at least one hour to firm up the structure.
  6. When you’re ready to serve it, slide the goat cheese block out of the ramekin and flip it over onto the serving plate so that the candied pecans are on the top; peel back the plastic wrap and garnish the top with additional rosemary and dried cranberries.