Baked Goat Cheese Dip with Apricots, Cranberries and Nuts

Ah, goat cheese what can I say! I love to cook with this creamy cheese. What is so good about this baked goat cheese dip is the wonderful combination of goat cheese, herbs, with a dried fruit and nut topping. Spread this dip over crackers and enjoy the rich taste of all the wonderful  flavors.

Baked Goat Cheese Dip with Apricots, Cranberries and Nuts

4 shallots, peeled and finely chopped
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, minced
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
6 ounces goat cheese
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1 cup chopped pecans, toasted and ground coarse
1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
1/4 cup candied cranberries
2 tablespoon olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Butter or spray a 1 1/2 quart round baking dish. In a medium sauce pan on medium, heat the butter and then add shallots. Cook for 2 minutes. Add the chopped thyme and cook for another minute. Add flour, stirring over low heat for 2 minutes. Add cream and milk whisking over low heat for 3-4 minutes or until the base is thick and bubbly. Remove from heat adding goat cheese. Stir and let stand for 3 minutes until goat cheese is melted.  In the meantime, whisk eggs, Parmesan cheese (reserve 2 tablespoons for sprinkling) and cayenne together in a bowl. Add 1/2 cup cream mixture to the eggs and whisk vigorously. This is called tempering so the eggs don't cook when you adding to the cream mixture. Add the rest of the cream mixture and mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour into prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and nutmeg.  Bake 30 minutes depending on the type of baking dish you are using.  Insert tester in the center and it should not be runny. Also it should puff all the way to the center.  You may have to cook an additional 5 minutes.  Let cool at room temperature before serving. 
Combine pecans, apricots, cranberries and oil. Place on top before serving.
I serve with an assortment of crackers.



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