Fromage Fort by Jacques Pépin

Fromage fort is a beautifully transformative way to use up the scraps of all those expensive cheeses that are crammed in the fridge. It’s a classic, frugal, and flavorful French technique shared here by Jacques Pepin.

A baking tray with three slices of fromage fort.

Making fromage fort is the ultimate way of using your leftover cheese. When I think about my father, I can still see the old earthenware crock that he used for marinating his fromage fort, or “strong cheese.” Now, my wife usually makes this at the house. I’m sure that our friends are tired of it, because when Gloria makes it she makes a big batch and freezes it in half-cup ramekins. It freezes well, and defrosted under refrigeration can be served on toast with drinks. Alternatively, we slide the ramekin into the lower part of a very hot oven or under the broiler for five or six minutes for a bubbly, crusty, and fragrant appetizer or salad garnish.–Jacques Pepin

What kind of cheeses are best for making fromage fort?

In Jacques Pepin’s house, he uses whatever is getting down to scraps. The beauty of fromage fort is that the melding of cheeses is aided by the addition of wine and spices. Think of this spread like a sparkling, delicate snowflake—you’ll probably never be able to replicate the same taste profile again. And that’s the beauty of it—experiment with all the possibilities in your cheese drawer. Bear in mind that a good mix of textures (hard and soft cheese) does make for a more interesting finished product.

A baking tray with three slices of fromage fort.

Video: How to Make Jacques Pépin's Fromage Fort
Video courtesy of KQED

Fromage Fort

  • Quick Glance
  • (1)
  • 10 M
  • 10 M
  • Serves 4
5/5 - 1 reviews
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In the bowl of a food processor, combine the cheese pieces, garlic, white wine, and a big grinding of black pepper.

Process until the mixture is creamy but not too soft, 30 to 45 seconds, depending on the firmness of the cheese. Taste, and season with salt, if needed.

The fromage fort is ready to use now, either served cold, with crackers, or spread on bread and broiled for a few minutes. Broiling will brown the cheese and make it wonderfully fragrant. The fromage fort can also be frozen.

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

This fromage fort is to cheese what guacamole is to avocados and banana bread is to bananas. I've been making this for years, usually in the aftermath of the annual "Cheesegiving" I have with my sister, and is a great way to use all the odds and ends of various cheeses in your fridge.

True to its name the flavor is very strong, but I wouldn't have it any other way. I have made it with just about every cheese out there and am a strong believer in balance: if I'm adding something soft like leftover brie, I'll balance it out with a firmer fontina or Swiss. I also believe it should have some form of blue cheese in it, though it will still be delicious without.

Basically, if you've had a cheese platter at a party and have mixed leftovers, this recipe is for you. It's excellent broiled on crostini (try dunking them in tomato soup or used as the "cheese" component on a grilled sandwich like a panini. I've always meant to try making a baked pasta (think the most epic mac and cheese ever), but it always gets eaten before extensive experimentation can commence.

What a simple and clever way to use up some bits of cheese in the fridge. This fromage fort really came together quite quickly, the hardest part was deciding which cheese to use. As I used equal parts blue cheese, gruyere, goat cheese and brie, there was a nice texture, however my blue cheese was quite strong, so the next batch will be only 1 oz of the blue, and I’ll kick up the gruyere a bit more.

It spreads nicely on bread (I used some homemade French bread) right out of the processor, and browns up quickly in the broiler, so keep an eye on it. It paired very nicely with a Rombauer Zinfandel we had opened.


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  1. 5 stars
    What a fantastic way to use up all the cheese nubbins in my fridge! I had some manchego, some extra sharp white cheddar (that I had to trim off the moldy edges!), Some comté, two Mini Baby Bells, and even a couple of tablespoons of Boursin (I felt like the Boursin was a little bit of a cheat but I figured it would help with the creaminess factor). It took me all of about 5 minutes to process everything and it was even more delicious after the flavors sat and married for a few days in the fridge. Talk about the whole being greater than the sum of it’s parts – this recipe is gestalt theory in action!

  2. I have sometimes whirled some butter in to improve spreadability. I think it can also help marry some of the flavors when you’ve got some strong ones competing with one another. I’ve never thought of wine or pepper or garlic (though I keep a jar of roasted cloves in olive oil in the fridge). I’ll have to give those additions a try.

    Thanks for the suggestion!

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