My brave Vermont quest to bring together food-love and mom-life.

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Peach, Maple & Clothbound Cheddar in Phyllo 2

Posted on September 08, 2010 by crankycheryl

Poor crankyGreg.  Last week he looked at me plaintively across the kitchen as I was preparing to blanch/can/freeze/pickle something or other and asked, “Can’t we just eat it?  Like just enjoy it now?”

Oh dear.  He’s right.  I’ve been far too focused on food preservation and too often forgetting to just enjoy the harvest, the end of the warm weather, the flood of funny things E. & Z. emit every day.  (E., on Monday:  “Mommy, I know what I want to be when I grow up.  Now I just need a herd of really fierce goats.” Z., on Tuesday:  “This is a picture of me with Josie from Josie and the Pussycats.  But I still don’t know whether to marry her or Daphne from Scooby Doo or (our 16-year old neighbor) Marlena!”)

Then yesterday E. came into the kitchen carrying one of those wiggly wooden toy snakes as I was working on dinner for a growing number of neighbors.  “Mommy, I want you to make Snake Cake,”  he told me, flopping the snake on the counter.  Chopping furiously, I asked him what should go in it.  “You know, cake dough, flour, milk.  And the snake.”  Sure.  I told him I’d fit it in if I could, and when dessert was served, that’s what he told his friend she was eating.

In reality, it was a lovely and sophisticated (i.e. “not too sweet)  little harvest confection:  sliced just-off-the-tree peaches, caramelized with butter, maple syrup and ground cherries, topped with just a bit of crumbled clothbound cheddar, all between layers of crispy phyllo.  Quick, as easy as phyllo gets, and I didn’t freeze or otherwise preserve one bit of it.

Peach, Maple & Clothbound Cheddar in Phyllo
20 small servings

Before you start, make sure your phyllo has been defrosted and brought to room temperature.  Have at hand a barely damp tea towel for keeping the wrapped sheets covered while you work.

1.  Preheat oven to 350.

2.  Melt in a large saucepan:

  • 2 T. unsalted butter

3.  When butter is melted and starting to bubble lightly add:

  • 3 chopped fresh peaches
  • (I had 1/2 cup of ground cherries around, which I added after husking and washing, but they’re optional)
  • 3 T. maple syrup

Let cook until fruit releases juices, but still holds its shape.  Remove from heat.

4.  Spray a 9 x 13 pan with cooking spray.  Lay one sheet of phyllo in the bottom, then spray thoroughly.  Repeat four times.  Spread peach filling on top, then crumble over it:

  • 1/2 c. finely crumbled clothbound or other aged cheddar

Lay another sheet of phyllo on top, spray, and repeat four more times.  Spray top of the phyllo generously, then score into serving pieces.  The easiest way to do this is to take a very sharp knife and cut lengthwise into thirds, then diagonally across in six cuts.

5.  Place in oven and cook until top layers are browned, and filling is visibly bubbling.  Cool for at least 10 minutes before attempting to remove individual portions from pan.

To re-freeze any remaining phyllo, wrap in double layers of plastic wrap and return to box, then place in freezer.

Milk + Mold + Mites + Cave = Oh My! 0

Posted on May 21, 2009 by crankycheryl

may-09-023

I doubt I’ll ever get married again, but if I do it’s going to be to Cabot Clothbound Cheddar.

I picked some up on my last pass through the Northeast Kingdom, and have been sitting here eating it right down to its stinky rind, and then I ate the rind itself.  I didn’t want to keep going, but was compelled because I’ve been looking for the words to describe it.  Such is my commitment to food writing.

I agree with Formaggio Kitchen, which describes it as a “cow milk cheese that puts us at the table with the best cheddars of the world. It has a smooth firm texture and a sharp and fruity flavor with hints of caramel sweetness on the finish.”

And with Cowgirl Creamery, who says “sharp and creamy, this cheddar doesn’t so much melt in your mouth as it does coat every surface with caramelized luxury.”

Yup.  All those.  Luxurious, caramel, buttery, sharp, crumbly but sumptuous, perhaps a tiny bit nutty.  It’s just wonderful.

My friend Suzanne from Craftsbury, who seems to know where all the excellent food in the Northeast Kingdom is, told me about it.  How it’s made by Cabot and aged in the trés chic caves at Jasper Hill. She scrunched up her hands, showing me how they turn it and massage the cheese.  (When I asked a cheesemaker at the Burlington Farmers’ Market about turning and massaging cheese, he nodded and told me it was how they keep the cheese properly shaped, and the cheese mites – here’s a link to an image of one if you like to be grossed out – under control.)

Here’s what Cabot says about its creation:

“Cabot Clothbound Cheddar is a marvel of milk, master cheesemaking and artful aging,” said Cabot cheese maestro Marcel Gravel. Made one vat at a time, from the milk of purely Holstein cows, the result is a singular, Old World style cheddar. A special, proprietary blend of cheese cultures gives an unpasteurized note to this pasteurized milk cheddar.

“Traditional hooping and clothbound curds are just the beginning of this vanguard, Vermont collaboration. After creation, the wheels journey north along the Revolutionary War-era Bayley-Hazen Road into the care of Andy and Mateo Kehler, fellow Vermont cheesemakers and affineurs, and owners of The Cellars at Jasper Hill Farm. “Here, the cave-aged wheels benefit from spa-like pampering and controlled, mold-ripened maturing to develop their beautiful, natural rind,” said Mateo Kehler, co-owner of Jasper Hill Farm. “It’s all about spruce boards, hand turning and tender brushing. [They brush to get rid of the mites on clothbound cheeses.]

“The cheddar’s texture and flavor owe their balance and subtle tones equally to both parts of this dual team effort: traditional clothbound cheddar made at the historic creamery in Cabot and lovingly matured in Greensboro among the hills above Caspian Lake.”

Find some (I got mine at Greensboro’s Willey’s Store) and try it.  And then please bring me some more.  I promise not to complain if it doesn’t take out the trash or pick up its socks.

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    Cheryl Herrick's brave Vermont quest to bring together food-love and mom-life. All original content (written, graphical, recipes or other), unless otherwise noted, is © and/or TM Cheryl Herrick. All rights reserved by the author. Want to reprint a recipe? Just get in touch and ask.

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