This cheesy and savory party pumpkin is the perfect edible showstopper for any festive fall party.
Special equipment: Plastic wrap and large rubber bands.
- Two 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 3 scallions, finely chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, finely diced, stem reserved for decoration
- Hot sauce (optional)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper (optional)
- 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
- Crackers and/or crudités, for serving
1. Using an electric mixer, combine the cream cheese the garlic powder, paprika and Worcestershire sauce together.
2. Gently fold in the scallions and diced peppers to the mixture. Taste and season with a few dashes of hot sauce or salt and pepper, if desired.
3. Stir in one cup of shredded cheddar cheese to the cream cheese mixture until it's thoroughly incorporated.
4. Spread out a sheet of plastic wrap on the counter. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese onto the plastic wrap.
5. Shape the cream cheese mixture into a ball and roll it on top of the shredded cheese. Using clean hands, press the additional shredded cheese around and on top of the cheese ball so it's thoroughly covered in cheddar.
6. Bring the sides of the plastic wrap together to tightly wrap the entire package into a ball. Secure with more plastic wrap, using at least two additional layers to make sure no cheese squeezes out.
7. To create the pumpkin shape, use 4 large rubber bands. Loop the rubber bands around the cheese ball to form 8 distinct sections and flatten the ball slightly so it resembles a pumpkin. Create deeper grooves by pressing into the sides of the cheese wedges with your fingers.
8. Put the cheese ball into the fridge for at least 4 hours, or overnight, to let it set and firm up.
9. Before serving, cut off the rubber bands and carefully remove the plastic wrap to keep the shape. Put the cheese ball on a plate and press the stem of the bell pepper into the top center of the cheese ball to decorate it like a pumpkin. Serve with crackers or crudités.