7 Christmas Bakes with Philippa Davis: #4 Hardy’s Cheese and Rye Dorset Biscuits

PUBLISHED: 22:03 17 November 2020

Hardy cheese and rye biscuits - a lovely Dorset gift to bake Photo: Philippa Davis

Hardy cheese and rye biscuits - a lovely Dorset gift to bake Photo: Philippa Davis


This savoury cheese and rye biscuit is a unique Dorset recipe which uses award-winning local ingredients

One of my favourite aspects about being a travelling private chef is finding the most delicious local ingredients where ever I may be. A definite upside of being home so much in Dorset this year was that I got to discover, and use, even more incredible local products. This savoury biscuit recipe I have created celebrates and showcases some of my favourite local producers. There is ‘Hardy’s’, an award-winning Dorset hard cheese from Cranbourne-based The Book & Bucket Cheese Company they name all their cheeses after famous authors. Flours, milled by Stoates & Sons , based near Shaftesbury, who have an impressive high-quality range of organic and non-organic stoneground flours. Fresh milk direct from the farm’s vending machine Madjeston Milk Station in Gillingham, and golden logs of creamy cultured butter from the award-winning Dorset Dairy Co . who also make an outrageously luscious award-winning yoghurt.

Makes approximately 20

100g plain flour

Hardy cheese and rye biscuits - a collation of great Dorset ingredients Photo: Philippa DavisHardy cheese and rye biscuits - a collation of great Dorset ingredients Photo: Philippa Davis

75g rye flour

1 tsp caraway seeds

1 tsp fennel seeds

150g cold butter

150g Hardy’s cheese (Cheddar, manchego or pecorino will also work)

1 free range egg lightly beaten.

1 tbsp milk

3 tbsp poppy seeds

To glaze

1 free range egg yolk

1 tbsp milk


1 Mix the flours, caraway and fennel seeds in a bowl. Using the large side of a cheese grater, grate in the cold butter and cheese. Rub the mix together with your fingertips until the mix resembles crumbs then stir in the egg and bring together into a ball. You may need 1 tbsp cold water to help bring the dough together.

2 Form into a 3cm diameter log, brush with the 1 tbsp milk then scatter the outside with poppy seeds. Wrap in clingfilm and chill for at least 1 1/2 hours (although once made the dough will last a few days in the fridge before being sliced and baked).

3 Preheat the oven to 160°C fan/gas mark 4 and line a tray with baking parchment. Cut the log into 2cm thick disks and place on the tray. Mix the egg yolk and 1 tbsp milk together then brush each side of the disks.

4 Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden. Swap the trays round half way through cooking so they bake evenly. Leave to cool a little or totally before scoffing. Cooked, these will last a few days in a sealed container, though if keeping for longer they do benefit from being crisped up in a low oven for five minutes before eating.

My top tips for perfect bakes

- Weigh out all your ingredients before you start mixing, it’s easy to get distracted and forget to put one in.

- When chilling doughs for rolling out at a later stage, form into discs rather than balls as they chill quicker, more evenly and are easier to roll out.

- Even new ovens tend to bake slightly unevenly so I usually swap around the baking sheets half way through cooking.

Philippa Davis is an international private chef and food writer, who when not travelling the world, is in Dorset. Follow her food adventures on Instagram

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