Chocolate and pecan crusted goat’s cheese

This post is a bit of an anomaly for the Hungry Hinny – an actual meal as opposed to a baked good!

But as the challenge set by Choclette for this month’s We Should Cocoa was to create something savoury and vegetarian using chocolate,  I was happy to branch out.

The only savoury cooking I’ve done with chocolate in the past is using it in chilli, but I thought that was too obvious and set out to find something a bit different.

I stumbled across this recipe for warm encrusted goat’s cheese which used cacao nibs, which I figured would at least be interesting, if not actually nice, so I set about recreating it.

After a bit of reconnassaince on Twitter, I found a local shop which sold cacao nibs, but when I visited they only had 200g bags costing over £8, which I couldn’t really justify spending on an experiement, so the final version of this is definitely more ‘inspired by’ than an actual replication of the original…

I served the goat’s cheese on seeded panini breads with caramelised onions, a rocket salad and balsamic dressing, and I have to say I actually really liked it!

The pony wasn’t so keen on the crust, but then he doesn’t like pecans anyway so I wasn’t too surprised – it’s definitely worth giving it a go for something slightly different to do with chocolate!

Chocolate and pecan crusted goat’s cheese (adapted from All Chocolate):

(Serves 2 as a lunch)

  • 2 x 65g packs of Gevrik Goat’s Cheese (other goat’s cheeses will work fine, but if you’re a strict veggie double check as some French ones aren’t suitable)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 50g pecan nuts
  • 1tsp cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

Use a food processor to quite finely chop the nuts, then add in the cocoa powder and black pepper. Cut each mini-log of cheese in half width-ways, so you have four rounds, then dip each in the beaten egg before coating with the nut mixture, then place on a baking tray. Bake at 180 degrees for 5-10 minutes, or until the coating is crisp and the cheese is just starting to ooze out.

To serve:

  • 2 medium onions
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1tsp brown sugar
  • 2 seeded paninis, or other breads
  • 1 pack of rocket or other leafy salad

Heat a little oil in a frying pan then add the sliced onions. Cook slowly for about 15 minutes or until starting to turn golden, then add in 1tbsp balsamic vinegar and the brown sugar. Cook for another 10 minutes or so, until caramelised.

Heat the breads for about 5 minutes in the oven, then slice in half and top with the onions and goat’s cheese. Arrange on top of the salad and drizzle with the remaining balsamic vinegar.

Goat’s cheese and poppy seed crackers

Apologies for posting yet another Christmas gift recipe in January, but I baked too much and didn’t have enough time for blogging in December!

These crackers are great if you have a slightly weird person in your family who doesn’t like sweet things – I teamed them with a cranberry and pear chutney and a few other bits and my mum seemed fairly pleased!

The recipe is adapted from The Pink Whisk (a bit of a Goddess when it comes to Christmas treats) but with the parmesan swapped for a vegetarian hard English goat’s cheese – even though they were going to be a gift I still wanted to be able to try them!

Goat’s cheese and poppy seed crackers (recipe adapted from The Pink Whisk)

Makes 12-15 small crackers

  • 150g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp garlic salt
  • 60g butter
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 tbsp poppy seeds
  • 65ml water
  • 20g hard goat’s cheese, grated

Mix the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in a food processor, then add the butter and pulse until the mixture forms fine breadcrumbs. Add the poppy seeds, then with the mixer running pour in the oil and then the water (pour the water slowly as you might not need all of it). The mixture should come together into a soft ball.

Chill in the fridge for half an hour, then roll out onto a floured surface, to about 3/4mm thick, depending if you want thick or thin crackers. Use a biscuit cutter to cut rounds – mine were about an inch and a half diameter, but they can be as big or as small as you want.

Place the crackers on a baking sheet, leaving a bit of a gap for them to spread, and prick with a fork. Chill again for half an hour. Sprinkle a little of the goats cheese on top of each, then bake at 190 degrees for 12-15 minutes, or until crisp and golden, underneath as well as on top.