After school on Friday’s my 11 year old grandson Leo and I have time together.  This past week we prepared for his father’s birthday celebration, which naturally meant making an abundance of Leo’s favorite cheese balls!

Cheese balls come from my Aunt Louie, who with piled white hair and a brave bosom, who would drive down the village street bowing right and left to her friends in the manner of the Queen Mother. Aunt Louie was lucky. Her tombola tickets invariably won a prize, and once earned her a valuable diamond brooch in the shape of a bow as pioneered by Cartier. I have it to this day.

I once asked Aunt Louie where her recipe came from and she looked nostalgic. “We went on our honeymoon to Monte Carlo, and I made rather a lot of money in the Casino. Your uncle would get very tired of waiting for me and always said that the only compensation were the cheese balls in the bar. So I tried them at home and they became a family tradition.”

We have Aunt Louie’s cheese ball at nearly every family occasion and now I’m passing along the tradition to the next generation.


Makes about 20 1-inch balls

1 1/4 cups flour, more if needed

1 1/4 cups grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 teaspoon each of salt, pepper and dry mustard

1/2 cup melted butter, more if needed

  1. Put the flour, Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, and mustard in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse briefly to mix. With the blades running, pour in the melted butter, and continue working to form crumbs, about 20 seconds. Press a few crumbs together with your fingers: if dry, add a little more butter, or if sticky add 2-3 tablespoons more flour. (see Leo on the right)
  1. Butter a baking sheet. Turn the crumbs into a bowl, press them into balls the size of small walnuts and set them on the baking sheet. Chill for 30 minutes and heat the oven to 375˚F/190˚C. Bake the cheese balls until lightly browned, 20 to 25 minutes. They keep well in an airtight container, or they can be frozen.

A delicious bite for dinner parties and a great way to entertain my Leo.

Bon Appétit