With Halloween, and yes Thanksgiving almost here, I thought I would share with you a terrific cheese ball that is shaped like a PUMPKIN!
CHEDDAR & CHIVE PUMPKIN CHEESE BALL
16 oz. cream cheese (2 - 8 oz packages)
1/3 - 1 / 2 cup finely chopped chives
1 ½ cups shredded cheddar or cheddar/jack blend
1 package crackers
square cheddar slices for pumpkin ribs
1 pie crust, unbaked
egg wash (3 eggs + 1 T cool water)
1 large pretzel rod for pumpkin stem
Soften cream cheese at room temperature. Once softened, add chives and shredded cheddar. Mix well and form into a pumpkin shape.
Lay out a large piece of cling wrap, add the cheese ball to the center and wrap. Chill for several hours until it is set up.
Pie Crust Leaves: Lightly flour your counter top and lay out the pie crust.
Cut out small shapes resembling a leaf or use a leaf cookie cutter. Transfer the cut out shapes to a baking pan (I would line with parchment paper). Use a dull knife to create indentations on each leaf.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
For the leaf coloring: mix eggs with 1 T. cool water. Separate the egg wash into three bowls. Add food coloring (green, yellow and orange) to each egg wash bowl.
You can be creative by painting some leaves orange, some yellow and some green; or using all three colors on each leaf. Whatever you desire.
Make sure the entire leaf is painted before baking. Bake 6 - 8 minutes and remove from oven before browning occurs. Let cool.
Take the chilled cheese ball out of the refrigerator. While still in cling wrap, reshape if necessary and create the ridges that go down the sides of the pumpkin. (Simply use your thumb and drag it up and down the sides to create the ridges.)
Once the pumpkin shape is to your liking, remove the cling wrap and place on the platter.
Cut the cheddar into thin slices and lay them into the ridges.
Break off a piece of the large pretzel rod and add to the top for the stem. Gently lay a few of the leaf pie crust pieces around the stem on top of the cheese ball and the rest around the platter.
Add a variety of crackers around the cheese ball.
Etc. — This cute little cheese ball can add a wonderful decoration to your holiday dinner table and can be made the day before.
The pumpkin cheese ball (even though there is no pumpkin in it!) can be a fun family activity as the children can help with the painting of the leaves!