A Bake Off recipe that never was, this week. Back in 2011, I was busy writing recipes for use on The Great British Bake Off, as all recipes had to be written and submitted before even one second of filming was completed.
Week 4 was Biscuit Week and right down to the wire I couldn’t decide whether to go with sweet Melting Moments or savoury Cheese Biscuits with Tomato Jam.
I love savoury, and the cheese biscuits were actually my first choice, because apart from being deliciously moreish, they provided a slight trompe l’oeil by looking a little like (sweet) Jammie Dodgers. I even found a special biscuit press/mould that had a little indent, perfect for holding a blob of the tomato jam. I’ve had a look around and can now only find it sold on one website, in Australia, so if you’d like one for yourself, you can find it here.
As the days ticked by, I wrestled with the recipe but just couldn’t get the biscuit texture to my liking. So at the 11th hour I made the decision to go with the Melting Moments.
Rummaging around in the cellar recently, I came across the biscuit mould and decided to look out the recipe to see if I could successfully tweak it to my satisfaction, and here is the result.
The two changes I made I picked up from reading old recipe books, which pleases me greatly because it demonstrates how something old can still have uses and application today. The first was to substitute cornflour for some of the plain flour, as first mentioned on here in the recipe for Cheese and Potato Pies. This added the crispness and crumbliness I had been missing in the original recipe. The second tweak was to use freshly grated nutmeg in the seasoning (ready-ground just doesn’t have the same flavour in this instance) that I discovered in Mrs Frazer’s (1791) recipe for Macaroni Cheese (included in my NEW book, Deja Food), and which adds a fantastically complimentary note to the cheese flavour.
Don’t feel obliged to make/use the Tomato Jam – tomato chutney is just as delicious and the biscuits can also be enjoyed without any adornment at all.
Cheese Biscuits with Tomato Jam
Makes approx 40 small biscuits.
100g unsalted butter
155g of plain flour
45g cornflour (US cornstarch)
1/3 nutmeg – grated
pinch of salt
¼ teaspoon coarse-ground black pepper
60g grated parmesan cheese
A little cream or milk to mix
300g vine ripened tomatoes
1tbs tomato paste
50g caster sugar
2-3tbs lemon juice
pepper & salt to taste
- Preheat the oven to 200°C, 180°C Fan.
- Put the butter, flours, seasoning and cheese into a food processor and blitz until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
- With the motor running, drizzle in the milk/cream until the mixture comes together in a ball.
- Roll out to a thickness of about 1cm, cover with cling film and chill in the fridge until firm – about 1 hour.
- Cut out into rectangles 3cm x 5cm and arrange on a parchment-covered baking sheet. They can be fairly close together, as there is little spreading during baking.
- Bake for 15-18 minutes, turning the baking sheet around after 8 minutes, to ensure even colouring.
- When the biscuits are cooked through and golden brown, remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.
- Best served/eaten on the day baked, they can also be stored in an airtight container and warmed through when needed to crisp up.
- To make the Tomato Jam.
- Cut a small cross in the tip of the tomatoes and place in a bowl.
- Pour over boiling water and soak for 2 minutes, until the skins split.
- Transfer to a bowl of cold water and leave for 5 minutes to cool.
- Remove skins and discard.
- Cut the tomatoes in half around the ‘equator’, and remove the seeds.
- Chop the tomatoes into 5mm cubes and transfer to a small saucepan.
- Sieve the seeds and transfer to juice/jelly to the pan also.
- Add the sugar and paste and simmer over a medium heat until the excess liquid has evaporated and the jam has thickened.
- Allow to cool, then stir through the lemon juice.
- When cold, season to taste.
- Spoon onto cooled biscuits as liked.
- Store any unused jam in a jar in the fridge.