This festive twist on a retro favourite is ALWAYS popular in any appetizer spread. Just form Boursin cheese into a cone, roll in a lovely mix of festive goodies and serve with pita chips, crackers or fluffy focaccia. It takes just 10 minutes, is easy to prep ahead and I guarantee you’ll be a very popular host.
I feel like a cheese ball is maybe the most retro appetizer idea ever, but, it’s great?! Typically rolled into an actual ball, this festive version is so much fun, and it’s super easy too. All you need to do is form a quick cone from your Boursin cheese, then roll in the toppings. 10 minutes, tops.
I’ve seen variations of this recipe where you individually press the topping decorations into the tree, but I much prefer this speedy version. All you need to do is roll the tree in your ‘decorations’, which results in a wonderfully festive-looking tree in a fraction of the time. It also gives you a bit of a higgledy-piggledy look which I prefer. Using a star cookie cutter to make a cheesy topper for the tree is such a fun touch too!
I’m using similar ingredients for the decorations that I use in my viral festive bread dipping oil – it’s a great mix of colours and texture and makes it look so glorious as part of an appetizer spread. But, you can absolutely play around with the ingredients based on what you have to hand and what you and your guests like best.
- Boursin. This soft, garlicky, herby French cheese is similar to cream cheese and is the perfect flavourful base for this tree. If you can’t find it (I find this tricky when I’m home in New Zealand) you can use flavoured cream cheese (or regular) or soft goat’s cheese.
- Dried fruit. To keep things festive and colourful, I’m using dried cranberries and dried apricots. You could switch this up based on what you like – try dried figs, mangoes, apples or raisins.
- Pistachios. I love the pop of festive green they bring to the tree, but you could use pecans, walnuts, almonds or cashews, or for a nut-free version, use pumpkin seeds (pepitas).
- Sundried tomatoes. One of my favourite ingredients, these provide a lovely deep, savoury hit to the tree (and are lovely and festive). Swap them for olives if you like.
- Rosemary. You could also use thyme, oregano or sage, or use dried herbs.
Pomegranate seeds give a lovely juicy touch – but they’re optional as can be tricky to find. If I use them, I like to stick them around the tree after I’ve rolled it in the decorations. If you want to make a star topper for your tree, use something that isn’t too crumbly (so stay away from cheddar). I like to use mozzarella or Gruyere.
How to make it
Place a piece of clingfilm on a flat surface, then arrange the Boursin on top of each other in the middle. Wrap the cheese tightly, then use your hands to form the cheese into a cone. Pop into the fridge to firm up while you prepare the toppings (this will make it easier to roll).
Mix the dried cranberries, apricots, sundried tomatoes, pistachios and rosemary on a plate large enough to fit the cheese tree when it’s lying down.
Unwrap the cheese, then roll it in the mixture, pressing to make sure it’s sticking to all sides. Set it upright, then place your cheese star on top and serve with your favourite crackers (I LOVE it with pita chips or smeared onto chilli cheese focaccia).
Got a question?
You can coat the tree the day before you want to serve it, or, shape the cheese tree up to a week before you want to serve it, then just coat in the topping before serving.
You can play around based on what you like – dried mangoes, apples or figs would be great, or raisins or sultanas.
Like this recipe? Here are more festive appetizers for you
If you make this recipe, I’d love to hear from you! You can leave me a comment below.
If you make this recipe, I’d love to hear from you! You can leave me a comment below.Print