Cheese and rosemary sablés
- December 2012
- 175g plain flour, plus extra to dust
- ½ level tsp salt
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- ½ tsp English mustard powder
- 150g unsalted butter, chilled, cut into small pieces
- 75g mature cheddar, finely grated
- 75g parmesan, finely grated
- 1 medium free-range egg, beaten
- 75g walnut pieces, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
- Sea salt flakes for sprinkling
- Put the flour, salt, cayenne pepper, mustard powder and butter into a food processor and mix together until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the grated cheeses and 1 tsp cold water, then blend briefly using the pulse button until the mixture comes together into a ball.
- Tip the ball of dough onto a lightly floured surface, divide in half and, with lightly floured hands, shape it into two 3cm thick logs. Wrap them first in squares of baking paper, then cling film and chill in the fridge for 3-4 hours until very firm.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas 4. Unwrap the logs, brush with the beaten egg, then roll in the chopped walnuts, pressing them on firmly by hand. Cut the logs into 4-5mm slices and place the biscuits about 3cm apart on baking trays lined with baking paper.
- Brush the tops of the biscuits very lightly with the beaten egg, then sprinkle some with the chopped rosemary and some with sea salt flakes. Bake for 11-12 minutes until richly golden brown. Remove and leave to cool on the baking trays, then store in an airtight tin.
You can make the sablés using any hard or semi-hard, well-flavoured cheese, such as pecorino, comté, beaufort or stilton, and also experiment with different coatings and flavourings.
Smoked paprika goes well with manchego, thyme with hard goat’s cheese, fennel seeds with parmesan, and nigella seeds (also known as kalonji or onion seeds) with cheddar
After step 2, wrap well, then store in the freezer for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight, then continue with the recipe. You could make extra dough for yourself and, over the festive season, keep the logs (see step 2) in the fridge for up to 3 days. When friends pop round, heat the oven, then just finish off and bake the sablés, following the recipe from step 3
The sablés are best eaten within 2 or 3 days after making, so if giving them as a gift, tell the person receiving them to warm the biscuits through in a low oven for 5 minutes to crisp them up.
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