A cheese spread and childhood memories
This morning, I woke up with cheese spread and kids birthday parties from my childhood on my mind.
Truth be told, without my approval, my subconscious had spent the night going over today’s article.
Though, I had a sleepless night, I welcomed this unexpected inspiration. So many wonderful memories came flooding back the minute I stepped out of my bed.
Here I was, standing by a table filled with sweet and savory treats, as they always were throughout my childhood. On that table, I saw trays of bite-sized triangle shaped sandwiches piled on top of each other.
They were none other than crust less sliced bread stuffed with Haiti’s most famous cheese spread. They came with a twist, however.
The spread’s color varied according to the occasion.
See, when we were kids, my aunt enjoyed adding a few drops of food coloring to this spread to give her mini-sandwiches a festive note. During her Holiday parties, she served us mini sandwiches stuffed with red or green cheese, which fascinated us.
We could not understand that cheese could be this colorful without switching flavors. We were convinced that the taste had to change according to the color. After all, if the candies we ate came in different colors and flavors, a sandwich with a colorful cheese spread could not be different.
We were of course wrong. That did not stop us from testing out our theory, however. We made sure to try every single colored sandwich. This meant that we ate way more sandwiches than we should. Luckily, none of us ever suffered from indigestion, as far as I know.
Souvenirs of the mini-sandwich preparation also came back. Here I was, in my aunt’s kitchen. Her table was filled with bags of sliced bread. I watched her as she carefully cut out the crust from those breads. She would then make cheese spread stuffed sandwiches, which she later cut into triangles or small squares.
I wish I could share those pictures with you. Unfortunately, I do not have those mini-sandwiches in my archives. When the Holiday madness is over, I will try to replicate them as I see them in my mind and share those pictures with you.
Bold in flavor, this simple and easy to make cheese spread, is the ideal candidate for appetizers.
In Haiti, we serve it different ways. We sometimes spread it over sliced bread or use it as a filling for our choux pastries, bouchées as we call them here. Other times, we simply serve it with slices of toasted baguettes or crackers.
It is this cheese spread that I serve you today. This version is certainly bolder in flavors than the one I enjoyed throughout my childhood. Feel free to add more or less seasoning to your taste. The only ingredient you shouldn’t change is of course the inevitable Tête de Maure.
Haitian-style cheese spread
This is the traditional recipe for our cheese spread. Feel free to adjust it to your taste. It is a bit thick, but you can make it thinner, if you wish, by adding more mayo and/or milk. The possibilities are endless. Just make sure not to skip the Tête de Maure (aged Edam) cheese.
- 1 lb Tête de Maure cheese grated
- 1/4 stick butter
- 1 or 2 tbsp evaporated milk
- 1 or 2 tbsp mayo
- 1 small onion grated
- 1 chopped piment bouc
- few drops of mustard
- ground pepper to taste
Mix all the ingredients
Let macerate for a little bit and serve