This is a fantastic and festive Christmas Eve hors d’oeuvre – who doesn’t love a cheeseball! This cheeseball is made up of white cheddar, mascarpone, and cream cheese with crispy sage and toasted almonds all mixed together and finished by being rolled in pomegranate arils to add that festive cranberry color. Your family and friends will devour this, I promise!
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
10 fresh sage leaves
1 (8-ounce) block cream cheese, softened
4 ounces mascarpone cheese, softened
6 ounces freshly grated sharp white cheddar cheese
1/2 cup sliced, toasted almonds
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup pomegranate arils ( you can either disassemble a pomegranate or buy the prepared arils at the store)
Heat a pan over medium heat and add butter. Once the butter has started to melt, add the sage leaves and cook until crispy – flipping once and cooking about 1 minute per side. Remove the sage leaves and place them on a paper towel to crisp up a bit. Set the melted butter aside you’ll add to the mixture later.
Using a stand mixer (or hand mixer) combine the cream cheese, mascarpone and cheddar cheese. Beat until combined, then add in the almonds, sage leaves, remaining butter from pan, salt and pepper. Mix on low speed until combined, about 1 minute, scraping down the sides and the bottom of bowl. Take the cheese mixture out of the bowl and mold it into a big ball as best you can. Roll it in plastic wrap and place it in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, place the arils on a paper towel and pat them completely dry. Let them sit out while the cheese is chilling to remove as much liquid from them as possible.
After 30 minutes, mold the cheese into more of a smooth ball. Add the arils to a plate or baking sheet and roll the ball through them, using your hands to press arils into all the cracks and crevices. You will need to gently press so the arils adhere to the cheese. At this time, you can serve it immediately or keep it in the fridge until ready to use.
This recipe can be made 1-2 days in advance. Simply make your cheeseball and store in the fridge. Add the arils day of after allowing the cheeseball to come to room temperature.