Thursday, February 3

Olive Cheese Balls

While I was arranging flowers in the kitchen, The Young Tongue busied herself by shaking poppy seeds in it's container.  I watched her as she shook and shook to the beat of "The Wheels on The Bus" and realized, I haven't used that ingredient for quite some time now.  Challenged, I tried to scramble my head for something easy to prepare (don't we always?) and fun to look at.

I found a few pieces of large, pitted, green olives in our fridge and imagined encasing these with a savoury pastry.  I grabbed some Parmiggiano-Reggiano (if you don't have this, grated parmesan cheese will do) and combined this with some flour and butter.
Using your hands, rub 40 grams flour, 40 grams Parmiggiano-Reggiano, 30 grams butter, and a pinch of salt and cayenne pepper (or paprika) until it forms into breadcrumb-like texture (as seen above).  Then add cold water, as needed, until it forms a dough.  Like so...

Divide the dough into 16 portions (for 16 large olives) and flatten using your fingertips.  Place the olive in the center and wrap with the dough until it's enclosed entirely.  You can also roll your palms together with the olive and dough in the center to form olive-shaped balls.
Place in the fridge for 30 minutes to rest.  Remove and brush with an egg yolk (if you want it to have a lighter shade than mine, add a bit of water to the yolk before brushing).  Place the olive cheese balls in a baking tin brushed with oil.  Then sprinkle with poppy seeds.  Bake at 180 degrees Celcius for 10-15 minutes.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Although the poppy seeds can't be considered the "star" for this recipe, it does make the cheese balls look like eye candy, right?  This savoury goodness is perfect for entertaining, served with an aperitif or for high tea.  

You can make bake these 3 days before your event.  To crisp before service, just place in an oven for 3 minutes.