I won’t even pretend this is a Liptauer-like cheese spread. Because, it isn’t that. I think we can assume its roots live there, but it matters not. It’s truly delightful schmeared on a bagel. Liptauer cheese, in my experience, limited as it is, tends to be chunkier and drier than this. This is creamy. The Goddess likes creamy. My mother used to make this. We smeared it on crackers and roast beef sandwiches. I guess it was the thought of leftover Prime Rib, that got me thinking about it.
Good paprika is essential. I use both Hungarian or sweet smoked paprika. The Goddess wants smoky, but with a broad flavor. And caraway. I use both whole and ground. If you’re not fond of caraway, you might want to try another recipe. That’s okay. Caraway isn’t for everybody. You might try cumin…something to think about…options!
I add onion seed, also known as kalonji, black onion seed, black caraway and sometimes, nigella seeds. I’ve never seen onion seeds in any version of Liptauer, but I like to add them. Again, leave them out, if you like. You can purchase them from Amazon or in Indian markets. And toasting them does wonderful things to their flavor.
This is a simple recipe—you can stir it up at a moment’s notice, but it is best to let it “chill” in the fridge. Combine the spices in a bowl. Plop the room temperature cream cheese on top, along with all the other ingredients. Give it a good stir with a spatula, then chill for a few hours or overnight. That’s it!
The Paprika-Caraway Cheese Spread will deepen in color after it sits for a few hours. The is what it looked like right after I made it. This spread can be a stand-alone bit of savory goodness, or work as a schmear for a bagel, or on a roast beef sandwich. It’s good with celery, too. At times I do add some finely minced red onion, or Dijon mustard, or a drizzle of honey. Or add all of those things! Options…Options!!
Paprika-Caraway Cheese Spread
Perfect on a pumpernickel bagel. A few slices of smoked salmon won’t hurt anything either!
- 8 ounces cream cheese (see NOTE)
- 2 teaspoons smoked sweet paprika
- 2 teaspoons Hungarian paprika (hot or sweet)
- 2 teaspoons snipped fresh chives
- 1 1/2 teaspoons whole caraway seeds
- 1 1/2 teaspoons onion seeds (available at Indian markets-optional)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons snipped fresh dillweed
- Coarsely ground black pepper (1-2 teaspoons-to taste)
Soften the cream cheese. Add the remaining ingredients; stir until thoroughly combined. Chill for several hours or overnight. Excellent with pumpernickel bagels, on crackers or any good bread.
NOTE: If you use a “brick” of cream cheese, you will want to thin it with a couple of tablespoons of milk, so that it will be spreadable when cold. If you use the cream cheese in tubs, this is unnecessary. In either case, the cream cheese should be at room temperature to make mixing easier.
Paprika-Caraway Cheese Spread Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2017. All rights reserved.