What’s so special about Fromage Blanc? Doesn’t it mean “White Cheese” in French? And how about Crème Fraiche, or ”Fresh Cream” in French. How boring! Don’t be fooled by the mundane sound of these words. Fromage Blanc made from great milk is a cook’s salvation in bringing ordinary dishes to new heights and Crème Fraiche perks up and smooths out many a pasta dish or classic sauce.
We have been making Fromage Blanc and Crème Fraiche at Cowgirl Creamery for a long time, since day one as a matter of fact, and have promoted it as a spring cheese because milk is most alive with flavor when the animals are on pasture in the spring. The fall milk flavors are richer, more subtle, complimenting whatever ingredients are blended with the cheese.
In this classic recipe, we use both Fromage Blanc and Crème Fraiche with the bold flavors of marinated artichokes and fresh jalapeno peppers stirred in. Nan’s Fancy Artichoke-Jalapeno Spread is just right for fall pastimes of football watching or packed with a lunch for a hike in the forest. Nan, my partner in life, and I took a glorious hike on the Pioneer Tree Trail in Point Reyes on Wednesday to try to get over the raw emotions involved in watching the late-night election returns on Tuesday. Nan’s Fancy was enjoyed on both the late night watching and all day hiking occasions. We will serve it before our (small socially distanced) Thanksgiving feast later this month because it’s a crowd pleaser for parties of any size. - Sue Conley (Co-Founder)
Serves 4 to 6 as an appetizer
5 oz Fromage Blanc
5 oz Crème Fraiche
½ cup Wagon Wheel, grated (Parmesan, Aged Gouda or Gruyere) cheese can be substituted
2 tbsp fresh jalapeno peppers, minced>
1/4 cup artichoke hearts, chopped
1 tbsp fresh garlic, minced
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
- Combine all ingredients in a mixer and whip until a light, fluffy texture is achieved.
- Chill until ready to serve and bring to room temperature by leaving it out on the counter an hour before the guests arrive.
- Serve with crackers, corn chips or vegetable crudite (carrots, celery, endive).
Need to stock up on cheese for this recipe? Check out our Cowgirl Creamery Cooks package, including an assortment of our fresh cheese along with hunk of Wagon Wheel.