I’m going to admit upfront that I’m not the biggest fan of blue cheese. But I wanted to make something a little special for two important men in my life. I knew that it had to be something special and something that wasn’t the usual type of baked good that comes out of my oven. I thought I’d kill two birds with one stone by getting a recipe from Nigella. (The other “bird” of course being me wanting to try out every single recipe in her book.)
These blue cheese biscuits really rocked, they were aromatic, robust and very tasty. In fact my aunt, who usually just pecks at food, ate up the entire plate of ugly bits after they were warm out of the oven! They’re also a very good introduction to blue cheese. While still tasting emphatically like blue cheese, the biscuits have a more tempered and less punchy in-your-face flavour. While I could only take a bite of blue cheese before getting overwhelmed, I could snack on these little gems for ages. I especially like the green-blue pistachio-y hue of the biscuits, makes them look so pretty in the jar for giving away.
A note of caution: it gets very, very pongy on the preparation and even more so when baking. My cheese-averse mum had to banish herself to the balcony while I made them. A couple of days later, she was still complaining about the smell in the kitchen storeroom (beats me how the smell got there!).
On the ingredients, I’d say don’t buy a very expensive blue like a roquefort. I snagged a schizophrenic blue from Fairprice that was labelled Danish on one side and British on the other for $7 and had cheese to spare. The cheese should probably be quite salty, but if it isn’t, add a pinch of salt. Lastly, Nigella’s recipe called from blue cornmeal. Needless to say, my local supermarket hadn’t any in sight, despite there being both a Cold Storage and a Fairprice Finest (which sucked, it didn’t even have blue cheese!). I resorted to getting some corn thins, a sort of health cracker like rice cakes, and crushing them for a cornmeal substitute. They gave a nice, slightly chewy texture to the biscuits fresh out of the oven. The only(!) problem was that they went soft soon after and needed a little (pongy!) while in the toaster before crisping up nicely. Next time I’ll try doing them with all plain flour instead, or with the prescribed blue cornmeal and tell you the difference.
175g blue cheese
100g unsalted butter
2 egg yolks
125g plain flour
50g corn thins, crushed to a powder
1 beaten egg for glaze
- Squish the cheese and butter together, then mix in the egg yolk till it forms a pungent blue-green paste. Using your hands, work in flour and corn thin powder till just combined into a soft dough.
- Shape into a rough disc, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for half an hour or till ready to bake. It’s a good time to preheat the oven to 200ºC at this point.
- After the dough has been nicely chilled, dust a large piece of aluminium foil with flour and roll out the dough to about half cm thickness.
- Cut the dough into little squares about 2 by 2 cm. Transfer to a lined tray. Gather together the scraps and roll out and cut. Glaze the biscuits with the beaten egg.
- Bake the biscuits for about 10 minutes till just tinged golden at the sides.
- Remove and cool on a wire tray. Eat warm or leave to cool and store in an airtight bottle.
Makes about 100.