Last week I literally stumbled upon a wonderful little Germanic wine garden called Berlyn after a movie at Bam Rose in Brooklyn. Relaxing on the back porch filled with strange gnomes, animal figurines and pillows fashioned into sausage shapes I perused the wine and snack menu happy to see one of my favorites, Liptauer cheese as a starter. Snacking on a small order of this tasty spread I sipped a crisp Alsatian field blend wondering, why don’t I make this more often at home? It’s so easy to prepare and delicious!
Liptauer cheese spread, an Austro Hungarian favorite and traditionally made with a soft sheep cheese has just about as many variations as there are types of other soft cheeses used in recipes I’ve found spattered across the internet. I’ve been served numerous versions ranging from mildly spicy with a more pickled flavor to those with a bite, full of hot paprika, caraway and mustard seed. I’ve tried using many different types of cheese including feta, cream cheese, ricotta and goat milk chevre with varying results. My favorite version uses fresh chevre and has a bit of a kick, perfect with an off dry Riesling served spread on apples, sausage, brown bread or crackers.
You can experiment with amounts of spice, pickles and scallion but one thing is for sure, it’s a perfect summer starter with a chilled glass of off dry Riesling.
Wine pairing-My choice for pairing a Leitz, Rudesheimer Drachenstein, Dragonstone, Rheingau, Germany 2010 was the perfect complement. Bright, juicy, peachy, a hint of savory flavor and a touch of minty/flint on the finish. Pure heaven on a steamy summer evening! Coming in at just over $2o in the NY market it’s a perfect wine to celebrate the current Summer of Riesling promotion taking place throughout the US. It would also pair well with a variety of grilled German wurst, spiced grilled shrimp or a selection of aged cheeses.
Try this version of Liptauer I created and let me know how you like it. It can also be served stuffed into small tomatoes, with carrot sticks or slathered on a crusty loaf of freshly baked bread!
Liptauer Cheese Spread
8 ounces / goat cheese, room temperature , I used Vermont butter and cheese fresh chevre
4 oz unsalted butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons paprika, 1 sweet/1 hot
pinch cayenne pepper or to taste
2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 big pinches of salt, or to taste
2 pinches white pepper, or to taste
1 1/2 teaspoons caraway seeds, toasted & crushed
2 tablespoons chopped scallion
1 tablespoon chopped kosher dill pickles
a few dozen thin crostini or crackers
one bunch of chopped chives, to serve
Cream the goat cheese in a large bowl by hand or with a hand blender. Add the butter and incorporate that as well. Add the paprika, mustard, cayenne, white pepper and salt and cream some more. Now, by hand, beat in the caraway seeds, scallion, and pickles. Taste and adjust until everything is to your liking.
Best to make a few hours ahead and chill for flavors to meld.