Cheese and ajvar balls

Cheese and ajvar balls

December 4, 2018

They look fantastic and taste even better. These savoury balls are a real feast for the eyes. The wonderfully creamy balls, aromatised with ajvar, herbs, nuts, and sun-dried tomato, have fine stuffed olives hidden within, making them a tasty snack, which you pick joyfully just like a box of chocolates.

They’re extremely easy to make, and the best part is that you can make them in advance and take them out of the fridge just before you serve them. All you need is good, whole-milk, and hard fresh cheese, such as feta cheese or real home-made cheese made in Srem. You also want to add authentic home-made ajvar and a bit of fine ingredients that add extra aroma to these rich, festive balls, with a surprise hidden in the middle in the form of stuffed olives.

We used sun-dried large black olives preserved in oil, but you can also use green ones if you prefer so. The only thing important is that the olives should be dry and taken out of the oil so that the texture stays dry and hard, which is crucial for these balls, because it’s the fat from the cheese, ground walnuts, and ajvar that makes them compact.
Before you start shaping the balls, make sure the mixture cools down well in the fridge until it thickens. Also, right after you shape the balls, put them somewhere cold to thicken before you decorate them, because the hand touch will make them warmer. In order to avoid the mixture sticking to your hands, lightly coat your palms with olive oil before shaping.

Finally, let your imagination run wild and decorate the balls as you wish with finely chopped herbs, dried tomato, black or white sesame seeds, chopped pistachio nuts, almonds, or walnuts. Have fun and enjoy and let us know how they turned out if you decide to make them.

  • Prep: 1 hr
  • Yields: 8-10 people

Ingredients

500 g whole-milk cheese, feta cheese, or cheese made in Srem

4 tablespoons of ground walnuts

2 tablespoonfuls of ajvar with olive oil

100 g finely chopped almonds

100 g finely chopped pistachio nuts

20 dried tomatoes

2 bunches of dill (or chives to taste)

20 larger dry black olives

salt and pepper to taste

For decoration as preferred:

100 g white sesame seeds

100 g black sesame seeds

1 bunch of dill

10 dried tomatoes

100 g finely chopped pistachio nuts

Directions

Pit the olives, stuff each one with chopped pistachio nuts, and leave them aside. Use the rest of the pistachio nuts for balls.

Whisk the cheese thoroughly in a deeper bowl using a mixer until you get homogeneous mixture.

Mix in ajvar, walnuts, almonds, the remaining pistachio nuts, finely chopped tomatoes, and dill together with cheese until everything blends well and then let stand in the fridge until cold for at least 20 minutes or longer.

Ladle a teaspoon of cold mixture onto your palm, and put a stuffed olive in the centre of each pile and roll it into a ball. Finally, put them back in the fridge and let them cool down until you serve them.

Before serving, decorate the balls with sesame seeds, chopped dill, chopped tomatoes, or pistachio nuts, as preferred.

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