7 Christmas Bakes with Philippa Davis: #4 Hardy’s Cheese and Rye Dorset Biscuits
PUBLISHED: 22:03 17 November 2020
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
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
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.