Thanksgiving is almost here! I have the most adorable cheese ball to share. It is pumpkin shaped, but there is no actual pumpkin in it. It is a delicious mixture of cream cheese, chives and cheese. What makes this appetizer over the top is the garnish of pie crust leaves, pretzel rod stem, and cheddar cheese ribs to define the pumpkin. Guests at your Thanksgiving gathering will be in awe of this beautiful cheese ball.
It may seem like a lot of work, but really it isn't that bad. If you are busy on turkey day, as most of us are, make the cheese ball the day before, along with the pie crust leaves. If you have kids in the house, let them help out painting the leaves. It is a fun family activity and the leaves look great even if they are a bit messy.
Cheddar & Chive Pumpkin Cheese Ball
Makes one large cheese ball
- 16 oz. cream cheese (2 8 oz. pkgs)
- 1/3 to 1/2 cup finely chopped chives
- 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar (or cheddar/jack blend)
- 1 pkg. crackers
- square cheddar slices for pumpkin ribs
- 1 pie crust, unbaked
- egg wash: 3 eggs + 1 Tbsp. water
- 1 pretzel rod for pumpkin stem
1. Let the cream cheese soften at room temperature. Once softened, add the chives and shredded cheddar. Mix well and form into a pumpkin shape. Lay out a large piece of cling wrap, add the cheeseball to the center and wrap. Chill for several hours until it is set up.
2. For the pie crust leaves: Lightly flour your counter top. Lay out the pie crust and cut into small shapes using a leaf cookie cutter. Transfer cut outs to a baking pan that has been lined with parchment paper. Using a dull knife, create indentations on each leaf to create the look of stems/ribs.
3. Preheat oven to 400-f degrees. In a bowl, add 3 eggs and 1 tablespoon cool water and mix well. Divide up the egg wash into smaller containers which we will be using to make the different colors. Add the food coloring and mix well. Using a clean paint brush, start with the lighter colors, such as yellow or light orange and paint the pie crust pieces. Add the darker colors to the inside area where we carved out the stems/ribs. The darker colors will settle in the middle and highlight the ribs. Make sure all the areas are colored before baking. Bake for 6-8 minutes until baked through, and remove from the oven before any browning occurs. Let cool.
4. For garnish: Take the chilled cheese ball out of the fridge. While it is still in the cling wrap, you can reshape it if necessary, as well as creating the ridges that go down the sides of the pumpkin. I simply used my thumb and dragged it up and down the sides to create the ridges. Once the shape is to your liking, remove the cling wrap and place on your platter. Cut your square pieces of cheddar into thin slices. Lay them into the ridges gently. Break off a piece of a large pretzel rod and add to the top for the stem. Add a variety of crackers around the cheese ball. Gently lay the pie crust pieces on the platter, making sure to add a few to the top next to the pretzel stem.
Recipe inspired from Home is Where the Boat Is.