This was completely outside the CC's comfort zone but if we don't try new things, what good are our paltry lives?
Simon Hopkinson's recipe is similar to a "shortbread" but it's not really. It's not as crumbly and has a lot more "chewy" conventional texture.
It's also absolutely smashing with champagne. Did the CC mention that he made them for New Year's?
Do follow the measurements exactly. In baking this matters a lot but this recipe is pretty forgiving.
The CC doubled the recipe and yet, three women, just three, went through the entire batch like a bunch of banshees. You have been warned. There will be no leftovers no matter how many you make.
Pictures? Surely you are joking!
(makes around 15 biscuits)
100 grams flour
100 grams butter
50 grams cheddar (finely shaved)
50 grams parmigiano-reggiano (finely shaved)
1 cup garlic chives (finely minced)
1 tbsp. fine salt
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
4 chili peppers (sliced at a bias into elliptical rounds)
1/2 cup parmigiano-reggiano
(The CC modified the recipe to add garlic chives. They rock but you can skip them.)
This recipe is easy to remember if you think 100-100-100.
100 grams of flour, 100 grams of butter and 100 grams of cheese combined.
Stick your mixing bowl in the freezer for an hour. Yes, this will make your life eminently easier later.
Chop the butter into tiny pieces. Add the flour, cheese, garlic chives, salt and mustard and start cutting it with a pastry cutter. You want to mix everything together but make sure that the butter doesn't melt.
Add freezing water by the tablespoon. Be really really careful. You want to make sure the dough is comes together but stays cold and that the butter stays in pieces not melts.
This can be done in a food processor and it does an awesome job. You will just need to trust the CC that the processor will need to run for a lot longer — think 6 minutes but the dough will come together so just let it run.
Wrap the dough in some plastic wrap and stick it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Pull it out and put it between two sheets of parchment paper. (Aluminum foil works in a pinch.) Roll it out carefully to about 1/2" thickness.
If the dough heats up, stick it back in the fridge. (You see the pattern?)
Cut with some cookie cutters and place the biscuits on a heavily greased baking tray.
(You can reuse the dough as long as you chill it again before you roll it out. The CC had to do it thrice to use up all the dough to eliminate all wastage.)
Stick the baking tray in the fridge before you are ready to bake. You can do this even a day ahead of time. This is pretty fool-proof stuff.
Pre-heat the oven to 350°F.
Whip the egg. Pull the sheet out of the fridge. With a pastry brush, gently coat each biscuit with the egg wash and top with one chili pepper round each. Sprinkle the remaining parmigiano-reggiano over each biscuit.
Roast in the oven for about 10-15 minutes. Check at the 10-minute mark. You want the tops to be golden-brown. It sometimes take closer to 18 minutes depending on the thickness.
Pull out of the oven and let them sit for 5 minutes. They are still cooking. The CC knows you are tempted and heaven knows, the girls just wanted to grab them but do resist. The CC set a timer to cool off the maenads and yes, when the timer went off, guess what happened?