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Cheese Board with Cherry Jam and Candied Pecans

Menu PartAppetizer/Small Plate
Cheese board

Chef Brandi Key

Max’s Wine Dive

Austin, Texas

Cheese, crackers and fruit make for a simple and quick addition to a picnic, but Max’s Wine Dive takes it up a notch or two with a sophisticated cheese board. It includes house-made cherry jam and candied pecans as condiments, as well as an assortment of artisan and farmstead cheeses from California.


Glass candied pecans

2 cups pecan halves

1½ cups corn syrup

Cherry jam

½ lb. dried cherries

1 cup water

1/3 cup brown sugar

Kosher salt, to taste

Cheese board

1 pretzel roll, sliced

Extra virgin olive oil

Freshly ground pepper, to taste

1½ oz. Estero gold reserve cheese, sliced

1½ oz. Point Reyes blue cheese, cubed

1½ oz. Mt. Tam cheese, cut into wedges

Bunch of red seedless grapes

Tart green apple, sliced

1 oz. whole grain mustard


1. For candied pecans, combine pecan halves and corn syrup in small saucepan over low heat.  Simmer 10 to 15 minutes. 

2. Prepare sheet pan with parchment paper sprayed with cooking spray.  Preheat oven to 250 F. Drain pecans and transfer to prepared pan, spreading so that pecans are in single layer and not touching.  Bake until hard, like glass, approximately 15 to 20 minutes.  Transfer pecans to a cooling rack until completely cooled and not sticky.  Store in airtight container until ready to serve.

3. For cherry jam, combine dried cherries, water, brown sugar and pinch kosher salt in small saucepan over medium heat.  Cook until reduced by half, approximately 30 minutes. 

4. Transfer jam to a food processor and pulse until slightly chunky. Transfer to a container to cool completely.  Store refrigerated until ready to use.

5. Brush pretzel roll slices with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake at 350F until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes.

6. Arrange cheeses on board or platter. Arrange grapes, pecans and green apple in middle;  arrange toasted pretzel slices, mustard and cherry jam on top third.

Photo courtesy of California Milk Advisory Board


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