Wine and nibbles
Each afternoon we enjoy putting on an hour of complimentary wine and nibbles for our guests – it’s a great way to break the ice and for guests to meet each other. These blue cheese and walnut shortbreads are a regular offering and a great timesaver as I can triple the recipe and freeze a few logs of dough ready for baking. If cooking from frozen, allow an hour to thaw before cutting and baking….the smell of blue cheese fills the room as these are in the oven, particularly wonderful on a cold winter’s evening.
Blue cheese and walnut shortbread
115g unsalted butter, at room temperature
225g strong firm blue cheese (stilton ideal), crumbled, at room temperature
1½ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground white pepper
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 extra-large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
1/2 cup walnuts, finely chopped
In an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream the butter and blue cheese together until smooth. With the mixer on low, add the flour, salt, and peppers and continue beating until the dough is in large crumbles. Add 1 tablespoon of cold water
and mix until the dough comes together
Place the dough onto a floured surface and roll it into a 12-inch-long log. Brush the log with the egg wash. Spread the walnuts on a cutting board and roll the log back and forth in the walnuts, pressing lightly, to distribute them evenly on the log. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (or for up to 4 days or in freezer for up to two months).
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to (fan-forced bake setting) 165c degrees and line a baking tray with baking paper or a silicon matt. Cut the log into 1cm thick slices with a small sharp knife and arrange the shortbread on the tray. Bake for 25 minutes, until very lightly browned. Cool on the pan and serve at room temperature.