Air Show and Champagne: Spicy Parmesan Shortbread Biscuits
It’s the Saturday afternoon of the 2010 Farnborough Air Show and we’ve just gotten back from a long, lovely walk with the dogs up to National Trust Property Leith Hill. Life is beautiful so let’s open a bottle of Champagne, my favourite drink. (You may wish to note that this is a thought that enters my mind incessantly and which we heed quite often. Bubbles are my thing, as one says.) The Red Arrows make a fabulous flyover in formation and I’m wanting more, much more. It’s late afternoon and I don’t believe in drinking on an empty stomach (you’ll find my excuses numerous and uninventive, dear reader) so I pull out my recipe folder and drag out my favourite — nay, everyone’s favourite — recipe for nibbles to go with Champagne: “Sablés au Parmesan au Piment d’Espelette” or Spicy Parmesan Shortbread Biscuits.
I know this is everyone’s favourite recipe because I make them at nearly every Wine Tasting Fundraising Dinner we organise for Tongham Village Hall, and Friends of Tongham Village Hall eat them all, smack their lips and ask for more. The recipe for these little wonders comes from the French magazine “Cuisine et Vins de France” where it was inspired by an idea from Nicolas Multon, pastry chef at L’Amphitryon in Lorient, Brittany, France.
I was amazed to be able to make them in under a minute in my Thermomix, and with baking time included they were on the table in under 10 minutes! I won’t tell you how quickly we scarfed them all down…
Spicy Parmesan Shortbread Biscuits (Thermomix recipe)
Prep time: under one minute in a Thermomix TM31; 20 minutes traditional method
Baking time: 8 minutes at 220°C
Yield: about 30 2-inch biscuits or 20 rolled and cutout ones
150g fresh parmesan, cut into 2 cm chunks
150g plain flour (or use Gluten Free flour mix for a healthy version)
2 pinches of Piment d’Espelette or Cayenne Pepper
2 pinches of salt
- Preheat the oven to 220°C.
- To weigh out the proper amount of Parmesan, place the lid on your Thermomix and press the built-in weighing scales button. Cut off a chunk of Parmesan and weigh it on the lid. Add more chunks until you reach 150g.
- With the blades running at Speed 8, drop the chunks of Parmesan onto the running blades and quickly put the measuring cup in place. Grate about 8 seconds until fine.
- Weigh in the flour and the butter. Add the salt and the Piment d’Espelette or Cayenne Pepper.
- Mix 10 seconds/Speed 5 or until your ingredients form a rough dough.
- Tip out onto a board and form into long rolls about 1 ½ inches in diameter. Cut the rolls into rounds and place on a greased baking sheet or one lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking sheet. Alternatively, chill the dough for 30 minutes and then roll it out to about ¼ inch thick. Cut out with decorative cookie cutters and bake as below.
- Bake 7 to 8 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool 5 minutes (if you can wait that long) on a cooling rack and serve with your favourite bubbly.
If you wish, roll out half the dough, wrap it in cling film and freeze for the next time you want Champagne and nibbles. Then, unwrap and cut the frozen roll into rounds with a knife run under very hot water and bake straight away. They’ll be really nice and crispy.
Here’s a little treat from Farnborough Air Show’s Sunday flying display: A Lancaster flyover. Shades of WWII… Enjoy!