Savory Goat Cheese Truffles were the answer to a delightful dilemma I had recently. My husband and I were invited to join five other couples on a sunset cruise and each couple was asked if they could bring an appetizer to share. We needed to make finger food that would be easy to serve and eat on our friend’s boat. Bite size savory goat cheese balls mixed with dried fruit and then rolled in nuts or seeds and skewered with a pretzel stick seemed like the perfect appetizer to take on board the boat. The goat cheese truffles are a one or two bite appetizer and served with the pretzel sticks for toothpicks, there is no trash left that might blow into the water.
Savory Goat Cheese Truffles
- 4 oz. goat cheese, room temperature
- 8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
- 1/2 – 3/4 c. finely minced dried fruit (I used apricots, cranberries and golden raisins)
- 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper or to your preferred level of spiciness
Add the two cheeses to a medium size bowl and using a rubber spatula, mix until well combined. Add the dried fruit, lemon juice and cayenne and mix until light and creamy. Refrigerate the cheese mixture until firm. Take about a teaspoon of the cheese and use your hands to form the mixture into a small ball. The recipe makes about 4 dozen balls, depending on size.
Toasted pecan and rosemary coating (this makes enough to coat about 4 dozen balls)
- 1 cup pecans
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary
Place the pecans in a dry skillet over medium heat and shake to make a single layer. Cook, tossing often, until they have a nutty aroma. This will only take a couple of minutes. Remove from the skillet and when cooled, chop finely. Season with the salt and rosemary.
Za’atar coating: Za’atar is a spice condiment that is made from toasted sesame seeds, dried thyme, oregano, marjoram, sumac and salt. I bought mine at a farmer’s market and then added additional toasted sesame seeds.
After forming all the cheese balls, roll them in the coating mixture and place on a platter. I rolled half in the pecan mixture and the other half in the za’atar toasted sesame mixture. Cover the truffles and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving for the flavors to meld. The savory goat cheese truffles can be made a day ahead and refrigerated. Take them out of the refrigerator 10 to 15 minutes before serving.
If you wish, skewer the goat cheese truffles with a pretzel stick. If you use the pretzel sticks, insert them just before serving so that the pretzels don’t become soggy. You can also serve them with decorative toothpicks.
The savory goat cheese truffles are such an easy appetizer to put together, they take no time at all. What I liked most about this simple appetizer is that it is very versatile. The proportion of goat cheese to cream cheese can be changed to suit your taste. If you have guests that don’t like goat cheese, make them with all cream cheese or perhaps replace it with blue cheese. For a sweeter tasting cheese truffle, add a bit more dried fruit. Instead of using minced dried fruits, you could use sun-dried tomatoes or olives for a totally savory cheese truffle. Instead of using za’atar, you could roll half the balls in chopped pistachios or toasted black and white sesame seeds…the possibilities for these easy appetizers are endless.
I served the goat cheese truffles on a small platter and put the pretzel sticks in a small glass container next to them and let each guest decide how they were going to eat them. Some of our friends used the pretzel sticks to pick up and eat the savory truffles while others used their fingers and simply popped them into their mouths like grapes. They were the perfect one bite appetizer that everyone could easily grab at some point during our sunset cruise. Whether you want an easy appetizer to take to a party or want a little something to serve to guests with a glass of wine, I do hope you try the savory goat cheese truffles.