Years ago, cheese was just one of the many courses I served up at long luxurious dinner parties. Now I seem to have less time for long evenings of fine food and drink, or maybe I’m trying to eat a little simpler these days. In any case, I’m not likely to sandwich a rich cheese course between dinner and dessert.
Instead, I’ve started serving cheese for dessert.
It’s perfect for me, since I am not the family baker (Sharon is). I’d rather sleuth around for cheese than make a cake or tart. In my enthusiasm, however, I used to overbuy. It makes for a beautiful platter, but then I’m stuck for weeks trying to figure out what to do with all those specialty cheeses.
It may sound like a happy problem, but I hate opening the cheese drawer and finding mold pocking my pricy purchases. So I’ve taken to buying three small wedges of cheeses and creating a little tasting plate for everyone.
This is dessert, after all, so it needs to be special. I make saucer-size flatbreads, which double as both cracker and plate, and top the “plates” with two-bite portions of each cheese. You never know what I might serve, but there’s usually a little goat, a little blue, and something a little creamy. The rest of the ingredients on the plate change with the season. As you can see in this photo, I opted for dried figs, a little cranberry-orange marmalade, and toasted pistachios. In the fall it might be thin-sliced apples and toasted walnuts. A summer cheese plate might feature apricots or fresh berries and marcona almonds.