This cheese ball (or is that cheeseball?) was created for a North Carolina Pecan Growers contest at the NC State Fair. Prior to the contest, I made a 1/2 recipe “test ball” and took it to a family dinner. The consensus was resoundingly thumbs up! The test batch was all thrown into the food processor and wrapped, chilled overnight, rolled in chopped raw pecans and wrapped again for travel. It was a good size for our group of 7 adults. (There were 2 kids there that didn’t want to try it.) I would say there was about 1/3 of the ball leftover that was re-wrapped and placed in the fridge. It should last several days.
For the “competition ball”, I made a few minor changes. I hand-cut the fruit and veggie ingredients for a little more texture and I mixed them with the cream cheese in a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.
I also hand-chopped the pecans instead of pulsing in the food processor for a coarser result.
Then I toasted the pecans for more flavor and tossed in some granulated garlic after removing the pecans from the heat. I know it’s good. Now I have to find out if it is “award winning”! I’ll let you know how it turns out. ***Update: Unfortunately, I did not place in this competition. I wound up in 5th place. The judges said the flavor and texture were good, but they were looking for more creativity on the use of the pecans. I can live with that…they enjoyed it! I did win two 2nd place ribbons in the Food Preservation category of the non-sponsored competition, though. One for homemade ketchup and the other for wild muscadine grape jelly.
Now for the most important part: Is it “pa-KAHN” (yes, it IS!), “PEE-can” (No, it is not! Eeww, gross!) or “PEE-KAHN” (No, it is not, but at least it isn’t gross!)? Aaaanyway, I hope you’ll give the party ball a try and let me know what you think! Enjoy!
Spicy Pecan Pineapple Party Ball
16 oz Cream Cheese, (2-8oz blocks)
2 tablespoons Fresh Jalapeno Chili, seeds and membranes removed, minced
2 tablespoons Green Onions, white and green parts, minced
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
½ teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1 cup Pineapple fresh or canned, chopped fine, drained well
2 cups Pecans, chopped, toasted
¼ t. Granulated Garlic
Combine all of the ingredients, except the pecans and garlic, and mix well. Shape into a ball in a round container, lined with plastic wrap. Twist top and tie with kitchen twine or twist tie to hold shape while chilling.
Refrigerate until chilled through. Lightly toast the pecans over medium heat in a dry skillet, tossing or stirring often. Remove pecans from heat and add granulated garlic. Stir or toss to combine.
Unwrap the cheese ball. Place chopped pecans in a mixing bowl. Roll the cheese ball in pecans until evenly and well-coated. Serve with crackers. Enjoy!