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Nov 13, 2008 09:15 AM

Help me update this recipe?

For our Christmas party, I'm updating old classics. So far, my menu is moving smoothly (goat cheese and dill deviled eggs, "lambs in blankets" with lamb sausage, puff pastry and feta/mint sauce). But there's an old appetizer of my mother's that I LOVE and really want to get right. I'm half tempted to make it as is, but really would like to try to avoid the processed cheese.

This weekend, I'll be experimenting, and will definitely try simply replacing the cheese spread with a sharp, high-quality cheddar. I considered goat cheese for its consistency, but I'm already doing goat cheese in the eggs.

Any thoughts from anyone?


5 oz jar Old English Spread
1/4 cup butter
6 oz can crabmeat, drained
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 package English muffins

Mix all ingredients.
Spread on English muffin halves and freeze.

Cut each half into six pieces and broil until bubbly and golden..

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  1. It is one of my favorites but my family prefers it on mini-bagels. I think you can achieve the cheddar taste of the old english by playing with getting a decent cheddar to that consistency like you would (or used to) for a cheese sauce for vegetables. Heat it with a little butter and milk and it will thin out an aged cheddar . Then blend the other ingredients into it while the cheese is warm.

    Although if you go to a cheese shop or grocery store with a cheese department you may be able to find a semi-soft or spreadable cheddar cheese that has not been processed.

    Good luck and post back what eventually works for you.

    1. My first thought is that the sharp garlic would overwhelm the crab but I would think the same with the English spread (though I'm not sure what that is). I'd go with somehting a little milder, maybe grated gruyere and roasted garlic, instead of garlic powder, for nuttiness. And, serve it over something lighter than english muffins.

      4 Replies
      1. re: chowser

        what about a brioche or ciabatta instead of english muffins.

        1. re: cleopatra999

          The muffins are pretty essential to the texture, but ciabatta is similar enough that it could work. And thanks, Chowser, gruyere is a GREAT idea.

          1. re: katecm

            what about a mornay sauce for the consistency, using whatever cheese you like.
            Although gruyere is great with the sweetness of crab. I would use ciabatta also and cut them into small rounds. Menu looks great!

            1. re: katecm

              Good idea on the ciabatta. I think toasted brioche sounds good, too, or polenta but that would completely change the idea of the dish. Personally, I would like that mixture, baked on its own, and then served on endive but that's a different ball park.

              Sorry, when I wrote above, "I thought the sharp garlic would overwhelm...", I meant sharp cheddar. I shouldn't post when I don't have time to proofread.

        2. OK...gotta ask. What is Old English Spread?? Around these parts "Old English" is a furniture polish!!! Curiously, Adam

          1 Reply
          1. re: adamshoe

            processed cheddar cheese sold in a jar by the velvetta usually.

          2. Well, I tried it last night replacing the Old English spread with some parm and some gruyere. It was a bit dry, but I was worried about a cream sauce separating, so I just added a bit extra mayo to moisten it. Instead of garlic powder, I used some Old Bay. It came out really nicely, with a much purer flavor. I think to up the ante a bit, when it comes time for the party, I'll add some minched scallops, too.