Food & Drink

Blue Cheese Terrine with Spiced Pecans and Cranberries

1 party-sized terrine

Mary Spotswood Underwood’s secret weapon for holiday entertaining and gift giving

Blue cheese terrine with spiced pecans and cranberries on a plate

Photo: Patricia Lyons

Before she became an accomplished floral artist, lifestyle expert, and guardian of her family’s fine wood polish recipe, Mary Spotswood Underwood worked in a catering kitchen in Birmingham, Alabama. There, the Le Cordon Bleu–trained chef developed a signature recipe that would carry her through many years and holidays.

“I have a couple different terrines, and I just change the flavor profile per season,” Underwood says of her crowd-pleasing cheese dish. The one shared below—starring rosemary, cinnamon, cranberries, and other warming flavors—is her go-to from Thanksgiving through Valentine’s Day. Like a true former caterer, she often makes ten at a time, storing them in the freezer and pulling them out as needed. “They’re the perfect thing to take to someone’s house for a potluck, or I wrap them up in small terrine dishes and give them as hostess gifts and teacher gifts,” she says.

This recipe makes one large party-sized terrine, but you can divide the mixture and make smaller terrines.

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    • 5 oz. roughly chopped pecans

    • 1 tbsp. butter, melted

    • 1¾ tbsp. chopped rosemary

    • ½ tsp. ground cayenne pepper

    • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon

    • ½ tsp. ground nutmeg

    • ½ tsp. kosher salt

    • 4 oz. dried cranberries

    • Zest from 1 orange

    • 24 oz. cream cheese, softened

    • 12 oz. blue cheese (like Gorgonzola), crumbled

    • ¼ tsp. freshly ground pepper

    • Honey (optional)


  1. Combine the pecans, butter, rosemary, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a bowl. Toss until the mixture is evenly combined. Spread in a single layer onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake at 350°F for 8 to 10 minutes or until the mixture is lightly toasted. Return the pecan mixture to the bowl, scrapping all the bits and spices with a spatula. Stir in the cranberries and orange zest. Let stand to cool. 

  2. Combine both cheeses and the pepper in a deep mixing bowl. Beat on medium speed until smooth and fluffy.

  3. To build the terrine, line a loaf pan with plastic film, leaving extra film over the sides of the pan. Spoon half of the cheese mixture into the pan and spread evenly, being sure to get deep into the corners. Layer with half of the pecan mixture, sprinkling evenly to the edges of the pan. Layer the remaining cheese mixture on top. Spread evenly and firmly. Cover with another piece of film. Fold the excess film from the edges over the top completely covering the terrine. Reserve the remaining pecan mixture. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Thirty minutes before serving, fold back the plastic film and remove the top layer of film. Tug gently on the side film and invert onto a plate. Remove the film from around the terrine slowly. Top with the reserved pecan mixture. Just before serving, drizzle with honey, if desired, and serve with apple slices, endive leaves, grapes, brioche toasts, and/or crackers.