1 tbsp. sherry
2 tsp. raisins
1/4 lb. Cabrales cheese
2 tbsp. cream
2 tbsp. apple, finely chopped
1 tbsp. walnuts, finely chopped
1 tbsp. pine-nuts, finely chopped
3/4 tsp. dried thyme leaves
Soak raisins in sherry for 20 minutes. Drain and reserve both the raisins and sherry. Mix the cheese, cream and sherry. Mash until it becomes a semi-smooth paste. Add apple, walnuts, pine-nuts and theyme. Mix well. Serve with crackers.
Adapted from Delicioso
The Regional Cooking of Spain
by Penelope Casas
(Alfred A. Knopf, 1996)
Cabrales cheese is the most typical Asturian cheese and a favorite all over Spain. It's an artisan cheese made by hand from raw cheese and left to mature in Asturian mountain caves, where it develops the pungent mold that characterizes it. It's only made in four villages which of course means that it sells at a premium - specially if you are buying it abroad. In the US you can buy it online from The Spanish Table, a Berkeley based exporter. That's where I got it (it was about $17 a pound). If you can't find it (or don't want to spend the $), you an substitute with another blue cheese
This spread which combines Cabrales cheese with cream and fruits is pretty good. It has a very strong, intense flavor and my guests enjoyed it. I made it according to the recipe, though I increased the amount of cream the recipe called for and I inadvertently used much more dried thyme leaves than I should have (so feel free to put less, you may want to start at 1/8 tsp.).