Cream cheese balls with sesame and pistachios

Cream cheese balls with sesame and pistachios (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times / December 5, 2013)

Total time: 25 minutes

Servings: 15 cheese balls

Note: Adapted from "The Essential Book of Jewish Festival Cooking" by Phyllis Glazer with Miriyam Glazer. If using homemade sour cream cheese for this recipe, let the cheese drain an additional few hours until it is rather firm, then chill well.

2 tablespoons sesame seeds

1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

1/2 teaspoon nigella or black sesame seeds

Oil for greasing your hands

1 cup firm homemade sour cream cheese or a commercial cream cheese variety, chilled

1/8 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt

2 tablespoons finely chopped or ground toasted pistachio nuts

1. In a dry frying pan, toast together the sesame, coriander, cumin and nigella seeds over medium heat until fragrant, stirring or shaking the pan often, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat.

2. Grind the seeds with a mortar and pestle or briefly in a coffee grinder, so that the sesame seeds do not release too much oil.

3. Oil your hands to prevent the cheese from sticking. Roll the cheese into 1-inch balls and chill uncovered on a greased baking sheet.

4. In a small bowl, mix the sesame seasoning with the salt and the chopped pistachio nuts. Roll the cheese balls in the mixture until well covered. Serve immediately, or cover and chill on a wax-paper-lined baking sheet until serving time.

Each cheese ball: 67 calories; 1 gram protein; 1 gram carbohydrates; 0 fiber; 6 grams fat; 3 grams saturated fat; 17 mg. cholesterol; 63 mg. sodium.