I am somewhat of a cheese enthusiast and while a wedge of brie and a hunk of baguette is generally all I need, there are times when it makes sense to kick things up a notch. Like during the holidays, for instance. A cheese ball or a cheese log always feels a bit more fitting for a special occasion and this delicious Cranberry Pistachio Cheese Log is especially festive. Made up of an herb and honey studded cheese mixture that’s totally surrounded by tart cranberries and salty pistachios, it’s simple to make but impressive (and delicious) to serve.
While a cheese log isn’t difficult in the slightest to make, they just seem impressive, don’t they? When I see one at a gathering, I tend to think to myself, “Wow, the host went to a lot of trouble!” But I’ve made them enough to know it really isn’t that much effort. Take this one as an example:
The “cheese mixture” is really just a base of cream cheese that’s flavored with a few key components. You beat some cream cheese with honey, thyme, rosemary, and salt and pepper, and then shape it into a log and chill it. (Could that be any easier? I think not.)
Once it’s firm enough to hold its shape, you roll the log in fresh cranberries and pistachios that you’ve chopped up in the food processor. It’s a fresh and tart combination and it goes so well with that herby, creamy spread.
A few notes. Since you’re using fresh cranberries, the mixture will be a little juicy and the pistachios will soften over time, so don’t make the coating too far ahead.
Also, since those fresh cranberries haven’t been augmented with a sweetener the way that dried cranberries usually are, this can taste pretty tart to most people. You can drizzle the whole log with honey when you serve it, or you can serve some alongside it as an accompaniment, but I think it’s a must to go along with this combination.
The sweetness of honey is a delicious contrast to both the saltiness in the pistachios and the tartness of the cranberries but the creaminess is what carries it all. I love the combination of flavors here, but I especially love how easy it is to throw together!
Cranberry Pistachio Cheese Log
10m prep time
20m cook time
- 1 1/4 cups cranberries
- 1 cup shelled pistachios
- 8 oz cream cheese, softened
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- Honey, for serving
- Add cranberries and pistachios to the bowl of a food processor and process into small pieces.
- To a small bowl, add cream cheese, honey, salt, thyme, rosemary, and pepper. Mix until smooth.
- Using a piece of plastic wrap, roll cream cheese mixture into a log shape, then place in freezer to chill for 20 minutes.
- Spread cranberry mixture out in a single layer on a piece of parchment paper. Roll chilled cheese log in cranberry mixture, pressing mixture in until no cream cheese is showing. Serve with crackers and enjoy!
Recipe adapted from A Whole Lotta Oven.