A cheesy, gluten-free Lithuanian delight!
From Chef Oonagh Williams of Gluten-Free Cooking with Oonagh
For many years I gave Lithuanian cooking demos at our local ethnic library after attending summer school at the University of Vilnius in Lithuania. I still give talks on Lithuania featuring many photos and a gluten-free buffet with Lithuanian dishes. March 11th is the anniversary of the 1990 Restoration of Independent State of Lithuania, after years of Russian occupation, so it's a good time to try this special snack!
To make this Lithuanian dish, I always use fresh garlic chopped in a food processor and frozen. I never use jars of garlic, garlic powder or garlic salt for this recipe. Also, I recommend using fresh herbs, chopped and not dried.
Gluten-Free Lithuanian Garlicky Farmer's Cheese with Walnuts
- 1 lb Friendship brand Farmer’s cheese ($3.99/lb in my market's specialty cheese section). This Farmer's cheese is like a dry ricotta, but still soft. Andrulis brand is a sliceable brick.
- ½ c sour cream (or Greek yogurt)
- ¼ c light or heavy cream (the mix was too heavy to puree without added liquid)
- 1 tbsp honey – the cheese is quite tangy so I like little bit of honey
- 1/2 c finely chopped toasted walnuts – divided in 2
- 1 clove of garlic peeled and finely crushed
- 1/4 c parsley
- 2 tbsp dill. Chop leftover dill and freeze flat in ziploc bag.
- Green of half a bunch of green onions
- Pepper, no salt for me as I cook naturally low sodium
1. Process farmer’s cheese, sour cream/yogurt, cream, garlic in a food processor until smooth.
2. Add honey and half the walnuts, pulse, add fresh herbs and pulse until slightly chopped. If you run food processor for too long you end up with green colored cheese.
3. Line a round bowl with plastic wrap and fill with cheese mix. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours to allow flavors to mellow and blend.
4. Line a small serving plate with lettuce leaves and unmold cheese ball onto lettuce leaves.
5. Press extra coarsely chopped walnuts into the ball until they almost cover it. Serve with gluten-free crackers.
Sometimes walnuts (even when fresh) taste too strong for me, so I leave them out. Make it without nuts and see what you think.
If desired, the cheese mix can be mixed by hand so that the nuts remain whatever size you choose to chop them and you chop herbs with scissors or knife. Or place cheese mix in pretty serving bowl with small knife.
You can also sprinkle walnuts on a flat piece of plastic wrap, form cheese mix into a log, place on top of nuts and fold saran wrap around cheese to form a nut encrusted log. Refrigerate.