The pineapple is a symbol for hospitality and friendship and serves as an image of welcome . . . not unlike the appetizer. Nothing will welcome friends better than a pineapple-flavored, pineapple-shaped appetizer.
2 bunches scallions
16 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup shredded sharp white cheddar cheese
One 8-ounce can crushed pineapple, drained well
1 small jalapeño, cored, seeded, and diced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
2 cups pecan halves, toasted, for decorating
Crackers, for serving
Cut the green tops off the scallions; set aside. From the white parts of the scallions, chop 1 tablespoon and reserve.
Using a stand mixer or a bowl and a spatula, mix together the cream cheese, cheddar, pineapple, jalapeño, cumin, salt, and the reserved tablespoon chopped scallions until combined. Form the mixture into a ball, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Before serving, remove the cheese ball from the plastic, mold into a pineapple shape, and set it on a platter--it should look like an oval with a flat top. Arrange the pecans to look like the skin of a pineapple (you may need less than 2 cups, but choose the best-looking pecans to decorate the cheese ball). Stick the reserved green scallion tops in the top of the cheese ball to look like the crown of a pineapple.
Serve with crackers.
Excerpted from Great Balls of Cheese, © 2013 by Michelle Buffardi. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.
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