Olive Cheese Puffs
Having a crowd for the holidays? Need something easy to pass around with drinks while the roast is in the oven? If you love cheese straws and olives, then this throwback to the fifties, combining the two, is your delicious answer! You may freeze the unbaked cheese puffs on cookie sheets for about an hour, then pop them into freezer bags and take out just what you need whenever you want.
When I was in college, my boyfriend’s grandmother served these cheese puff appetizers to us every time we went to her house. This delectable combination of sharp cheese and salty olive resurfaces in my home around the holidays. A Google search turned up multiple sites with recipes for the retro favorites. The recipe that follows is a composite of having played around with many variations on a theme. You may use whatever type of olive you want, but most recipes call for the small green, pimiento-filled ones and I found them to be the best. Most recipes do not use an egg, but I found I preferred the consistency of the dough with the egg — not so crumbly. Many recipes call for pinching off bits of dough, but I love the suggestion of rolling and cutting out shapes — saved time and effort and gave a more consistent finished product.
In the photograph, I tried to capture the ease and simplicity of making
and serving these cheese balls–from rolling and cutting the dough,
to wrapping them around the olives and placing on a baking sheet,
to serving them with a beverage of your choice. Bon Appetit.
8 Tablespoons (1 stick) butter
8 oz. (2 cups) grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese
1.5 cups unsifted all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper or smoked paprika
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
1 large egg
1 jar (8 oz.) pimiento-stuffed Spanish green olives
- Drain the olives well, and dry them completely with a clean dish towel. Set aside.
- Beat the butter until creamy in a large mixing bowl; add the cheese and mix well.
- Stir the flour, salt, cayenne, and Worcestershire sauce until smooth. Beat the egg with 2 Tablespoons of cold water and add to the dough. Mix until just incorporated. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 400º.
- Once the dough is chilled, roll it out rather thin. Cut out squares or circles from the dough (I used an upended champagne flute). Settle the olive inside the circle and fold the dough around the olive.
- Place on ungreased baking sheet. Repeat with remainder of dough and olives. Bake until dough sets and balls are lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Serve hot.