The inspiration for this comes from two places: my blueberry sauce which I normally serve over cheese blintzes and my mom’s pepper jelly and cream cheese appetizer. The blueberry sauce gets a little heat from red pepper flakes and the cheese is whipped with lemon until it is light and airy. I serve it with grissini—pencil thin Italian breadsticks—in both rosemary and sesame seed varieties; they go incredibly well with this tangy, sweet, spicy, cool, and creamy concoction.
And of course, there’s another inspiration for this dish. I felt compelled to make something with a purple hue; it’s my nod to that spicy, cool, soulful, and incredibly brilliant artist, Prince, whose music has connected me to the better parts of myself. Thank you!
8 oz tub of mascarpone
½ of an 8 oz block of cream cheese
1 TBS lemon curd
Zest of one lemon
½ tsp lemon juice
Pinch each of salt, cracked black pepper, and red pepper flakes
3 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen (defrosted slightly but not drained)
1 TBS confectioner’s sugar
2 to 2-1/2 TBS honey, depending on the sweetness of the berries
Pinch of salt
1/8 – ¼ tsp red pepper flakes, depending on your taste
1 tsp cornstarch
Juice of ½ lemon
Zest of one lemon
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Pinch of coarse ground sea salt
Italian thin breadsticks, sesame seed and/or rosemary flavored
Prepare the cheese:
Take the cheeses out of the refrigerator ½ hour before preparation to soften (they’ll be easier to mix).
I like to mold the cheese in a small bowl (I used a bowl with a 1-1/4 cups capacity). Line the bowl with a large enough piece of cling film so the sides of the film can cover the top of the cheese. Set aside.
In a mixing bowl, add the softened cheeses, lemon curd, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Break up the cream cheese with a spatula so it’s easier to mix. Beat all of the ingredients on medium speed for one minute, then increase the speed to medium-high and beat for another minute or until the cheese mixture is fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl.
Add the cheese mixture to the small bowl. Smooth the top of the cheese evenly. Cover the cheese with the hanging cling film and gently press it onto the top of the cheese. Place the cheese in the refrigerator for at least one hour before serving; although you can make it a day ahead and it’ll be just as delicious.
Make the blueberry sauce:
Mix all of the ingredients in a large saucepan. Heat on medium-low until it simmers. Reduce the heat to low. Stir often to prevent scorching and mash some of the berries against the side of the pan. Cook for 15 minutes or until the sauce has reduced and is slightly thickened. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
If you’re preparing the dip the day before, cover the sauce and refrigerate. Stir the sauce well before assembling the dip.
Assemble the dip:
Unfold the cling film from the top of the cheese. In the center of a serving plate, invert the bowl and remove it. Carefully peel the cling film from the cheese.
Spoon the blueberry sauce around the cheese and dollop a spoonful on top of it.
Garnish with the lemon zest, red pepper flakes, and sea salt. Serve immediately with breadsticks or crackers.
Don’t Freak Out!
1) For the cream cheese, I prefer Neufchâtel (it’s usually labeled as “one-third less fat”) because I prefer the taste and texture over full fat cream cheese. But of course, feel free to use the full fat cream cheese.
2) If you don’t have any lemon curd, substitute an additional ½ tsp lemon juice and 1 tsp honey.
3) If there is any leftover blueberry sauce, you can refrigerate it up to a week and spread it on toast, heat it on low and drizzle over pancakes, or mix it in with oatmeal or yogurt (plain, vanilla, lemon, or honey flavors).
4) Don’t feel like molding the cheese? Artistically glop it onto a plate and spoon as much blueberry sauce as you want on top.
5) This is really good served with tortilla chips—that extra bit of salt on the chips is a good balance for the tangy sweetness. Or serve this dip as a dessert with animal crackers or vanilla wafers; depending on your tastes, leave the pepper flakes in or remove them.