Stilton and Toasted Walnut Balls (more Wilde party recipes)

23 Mar

Stilton is to England as Gorgonzola is to Italy, as Roquefort is to France, as Danish Blue is to …oh come on, must I?

As such, this blue cheese was the perfect choice for an Anglo-Irish themed evening during which we were reading Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest and drinking Pimm’s and eating beef stew and shepherd’s pie and ushering in St. Patrick’s Day. If it was a bit of a mix of cultural culinary references…well that’s okay by me! I’m American; we screw this stuff up all the time. Just look at the eight page menus at a “Greek diner” and tell me how that makes any sense whatsoever.

A view of the welcome appetizer table. Hot food was later set out in the kitchen for self-service...

A view of the welcome appetizer table. Hot food was later set out in the kitchen for self-service…

So my friend David, who is actually quite famous for his good taste, and who kindly offered to help with the planning and preparations, found the following recipe for Stilton and Toasted Walnut Balls, originally from the BBC. I didn’t so much adapt it as make the instructions more specific to make it more user-friendly. I started it early in the morning and he finished it up a couple of hours before party time.

Rich (very rich, very, very rich) and crunchy and peppery, it has a terrific mix of things going on in every tiny bite. Twenty-six may not seem like much for a party of ten, but trust me, they are very satisfying and most people are not going to have more than two before looking for something more crisp and bracing to balance them.

Read the instructions carefully so you know how much time to allot for each step (especially the chilling time) and you can do them well ahead of the rest of your pre-party madness. This is one folks will be talking about later!

One little bite goes a long way...perfect with strong spirits.

One little bite goes a long way…perfect with strong spirits.

Stilton and Toasted Walnut Balls (makes 26)

1 Tbs butter

2 oz. walnut halves

8 oz. Stilton, crumbled, at room temperature

2 oz. unsalted butter, softened

1 Tbs ruby port

1 Tbs green peppercorns, cracked

1 Tbs flat leaf parsley, chopped

Roughly mash the Stilton and butter together in a bowl. Mash in the port and peppercorns, then chill in the fridge for a minimum of three hours (preferably overnight).

Heat the first tablespoon of butter in a skillet. When foaming subsides, lower heat to medium and fry the walnut halves for 1-2 minutes until just toasted, stirring frequently. Allow to cook, then pulse in a food processor until chopped, not too chunky, but not to a powder either.

Mix the parsley into the chopped nuts and place in a small bowl.

Roll teaspoonfuls of the cheese mixture into small balls, then dip them into the chopped nuts to coat. Place on a tray with wax paper and chill in the fridge until ready to serve.

When ready to serve, pop a toothpick into each ball and pile onto a plate.

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5 Responses to “Stilton and Toasted Walnut Balls (more Wilde party recipes)”

  1. mmmarzipan March 24, 2014 at 2:39 pm #

    what a fab idea! they look great!

  2. Ashley March 23, 2014 at 5:08 pm #

    They were great, but you’re right – I could only eat one because they were so rich!

    • Natalia at Hot, Cheap & Easy March 23, 2014 at 7:03 pm #

      Don’t forget to share the recipes with your friends…in case someone wants to make them for Christmas Balls II

  3. Mad Dog March 23, 2014 at 11:12 am #

    Yum – they sound delicious 🙂

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