Jacques Pépin's Fromage Fort Recipe Is a Genius Way to Use Leftover Cheese

There's no better way to use up your cheese scraps.

Fromage Fort
Photo: Photo by Huge Galdones / Food Styling by Christina Zerkis

If you have leftover cheese nubs and scraps after a party or just rattling around your refrigerator, you need Fromage Fort. This cheese spread is one of the best ways to turns cheese scraps into something even more delicious.

Fromage fort is a French cheese dish believed to have originated in the Alsace region of France. When Jacques Pépin's dad was a kid, he would combine Camembert, Brie, Swiss, blue cheese, and goat cheese with his mother's leek brother, white wine, and crushed garlic. He marinated these ingredients in a cold cellar for a week to a week  and a half. A milder version is made by Pépin's wife Gloria in a food processor. 

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Fromage fort is a delicious and versatile spread that can be used in a variety of ways. You can spread it on crackers, use it as a dip for veggies, or even spread it on a sandwich. It also makes a great addition to any cheese board. Also, it freezes well. 

The ingredients are simple: All you need are cheese scraps, white wine, garlic, and herbs. The cheese scraps are combined with the other ingredients and then blended together until it forms a paste-like consistency. 

How To Make Fromage Fort

First, gather your cheese scraps. You'll want to use a variety of cheeses, such as hard aged cheeses like cheddar, Parmesan, and Gruyère, as well as softer varieties like Brie, Roquefort, and gorgonzola. Make sure the cheese is at least a few days old, as this will help it blend more easily, and deepen the flavor of the fromage fort, but be careful when using blue cheeses or other strong-flavored cheese; their prominent flavors can overpower the others.  

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Next, chop the cheese into small cubes or shred it if it’s particularly hard. Place the cheese in a food processor with a clove of garlic and a few herbs or a pinch of spices if you like, and pulse it until it forms a paste. If the mixture is too dry, you can add a few drops of white wine, ricotta, yogurt, or cream to help it come together. Transfer the cheese mixture to a bowl, stir in a few tablespoons of butter and a pinch of salt and pepper, and mix until it forms a thick spread. Now you can serve the fromage fort cold or spread it on bread and broil it for a few minutes. 

You can make fromage fort anytime you have extra cheese on hand. From batch to batch, cheeses, herbs, spices, and aromatics will differ, but the result will always be delicious.  

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