This Sweet and Savory Pecan Cheese Spread also known as French Quarter Dip is over the top delicious! It is the perfect sweet and salty combination that keeps people coming back for more!
Rarely do I ever come across a recipe as impressive and as exciting as this sweet and savory pecan spread. The spread uses savory cream cheese and a melty candied pecan mixture to create a dynamic collaboration of palate pleasing sensations. From texture, to temperature and the blend of flavors in this two part formula, I don’t think I’m overselling it when I say that this spread could save the world if you only put a cape on it. Seriously you really could!
To start, you have to liven up the cream cheese a little bit with some onions and you better believe I have a technique for making this work best. Here are all the tips you need on making this unbelievably tantalizing spread.
How to Grate the Onions
In most situations like the one in this recipe, you are asked to dice an onion or finely chop it. However, I found that in the case of the cream cheese dip. chopped onions didn’t fare so well in attempting to blend it with the cheese. This led me to instead opt for a box cheese grater. This created an almost minced effect, creating very small slivers of onion. When blended with the cream cheese, it became more of an onion paste.
Because I grated the onion it incorporates delicately into the cream cheese mixture. The flavor is there, which provides considerable depth to the cream cheese, yet you don’t get that chunky onion texture that can be off putting and even ruin the balance of the dip. When possible, I aim to keep the texture smooth with the spread, especially since it helps to contrast with the nutty pecan mixture we’re adding later.
Why Use a Cream Cheese Base for the Spread?
Cream cheese is perfect for spreads on account of its being so creamy. But you might be surprised by its prominence in a savory dish. Some people don’t regard cream cheese as particularly savory, when compared with gouda for example. But it is! It’s just so very mild, which is perfect because it doesn’t overpower the other ingredients. Instead, it’s soft creamy composition makes it the ideal vehicle for the other flavors in the spread to play off of each other like an underwater game of tag. It is the perfect flavor in this sweet and savory pecan cheese spread.
The cream cheese is savory but does not have an over-powering flavor. The pecans are in a sweet sauce and the two together are really delicious.
The best of the cream cheese portion of the spread comes from letting it chill for a while in the refrigerator. As the cream cheese firms up, that’s when the ingredients really start to gel. Just like leaving chili overnight to allow the flavors of the individual ingredients to meld, I love to make the cream cheese part of this special dip a night in advance so I can leave it to chill until the following day.
Start making your Sweet and Savory Pecan Cheese Spread ahead of time!
The cream cheese part of the recipe is best when it chills, which allows the flavors to meld. But in a hurry, someone could skip the chill time altogether. I like to make the cream cheese the night before I need it and have it chilling in the fridge.
However, when pressed, you can skip the chill time altogether, but I only recommend doing it that way in an emergency. It’s always better to start well ahead of time if you can so you can get the most out of the unique qualities of this exceptional spread.
Pecans Are The Perfect Partner
With the cream cheese disk chilling in the refrigerator, the next half of what makes this a truly exceptional spread can begin. The pecans are simply incredible on the cream cheese. They are made in a sweet sauce that compliments the cream cheese spectacularly well. It’s the kind of thing that satisfies two separate tasting desires all at wants, yet leaves you continuously wanting more.
Because this spread is so flavorful and yet so balanced, it’s like hitting a reset button after every bite. That’s the mark of a brilliant food combination. Another reason these two components pair so masterfully together is the fact that the warm gooey pecan mixture softened the hardened cheese mixture. The result is the optimal consistency for spreading or dipping. The warm pecan topping will soften the cream cheese to perfection!
How to Best Enjoy Sweet and Savory Pecan Cheese Spread
Sweet and Savory pecan dip is the kind of dip you can literally eat by the spoonful, you don’t need a lot to put it on. At the same time, you can put it on virtually anything. From veggies, to crackers, to chips, if you can dunk it, it’s good. Try it with carrots, or celery, to be on the healthier side, or dip pretzels and breadsticks to go a little heavier. You may want to line up an assortment of options to try out and see what you love best.
THE BEST CRACKERS
In my opinion, the best vehicle for this uniquely textural dip is crackers. Personally, my go-to cracker for dipping in this savory pecan and cream cheese concoction is a Ritz Cracker. I don’t know why, but it just works. Other crackers are great too, especially thicker ones like Triscuits or even bagel chips. These hold up well against the pecans even as the candy mixture begins to cool and harden. Other cracker to choose from
- Pita chips
- Ritz Crackers
- Club Crackers
- Wheat Thins
The pecan topping does become crunchy after a while, so I do recommend eating the dip fairly quickly. However, the dip is so good that I honestly don’t expect this to be a problem. In my experience, the dip goes away too fast! It’s even wreaked havoc on my Wheat Thin supply! You can always pop it in the microwave for a few seconds if you need to.
Alternative Presentation for the Savory Pecan Spread
Part of what I love about this amazing sweet and savory pecan spread is how tantalizing it is just to look at. It’s not our ordinary dip in a bowl. It has shape. It has structure. The pecan mixture is so warm and gooey I love the way it messily spills over the controlled hardened disc of cream cheese. The way these components support and build off of each other to create the ultimate composition is so beautiful and inviting.
However, there is another way to compose this dish if you want a less messy version inspired by the nut crusted holiday cheese balls you often see in winter. To make a less messy version of this snack, start with crushed pecans to make a finer mixture. Then instead of labeling the pecan mixture over the top of the hardened cream cheese, coat the entire disc in the mixture. let the dip harden until you can slice through it with a table knife and use it as a spread.
Either way you slice it or spread it, you will love this sweet and savory pecan spread. It will be the hit or all your family gatherings and parties!
OTHER RECIPES YOU WILL LOVE:
Sweet and Savory Pecan Cheese Spread
- 1 8-ounce package cream cheese softened
- 1 teaspoon onion grated
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce divided
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 cup brown sugar packed
- 1 teaspoon brown mustard
- 1 cup pecans chopped
- Peel a small onion and grate with a cheese grater to get 1 teaspoon of very finely grated onion. It will almost be pureed. This texture is important so it mixes well with the cream cheese without creating any chunks of onion.
- In a small mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, grated onion, garlic powder, and 1 teaspoon of the Worcestershire sauce. Scoop onto a sheet of plastic wrap and form into a disk. Wrap tightly with the plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator. Chill for 2 hours or over night to allow the flavors to meld. After chilling the cream cheese, unwrap it and place on a serving plate.
- In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat, then add the brown sugar, brown mustard, and the remaining 1 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until the sugar is melted and the sauce is smooth.
- Add the pecans to the sauce and stir to coat.
- Pour the pecan mixture over the cream cheese disk and serve immediately with crackers.