These delightful biscuits can be turned into a superb tapa by simply topping them with something unusual. A spread of pesto looks and tastes good as does small bits of chopped sweet pepper. The biscuits are savoury on their own and we reckon that the sweet and sour taste of marmalade is an exquisite topping, especially the chunky rind bits found in some marmalades.
For a truly exotic tapa we took one biscuit, topped it with cream cheese and then placed another biscuit on top. Chopped smoked salmon on top is also out of this world as far as taste goes. When cooked the pastry is a "melt in the mouth" texture so pick them up very gently to avoid them crumbling.
|110g / 4oz of salted or unsalted butter straight from the fridge|
|110g / 4oz plain flour (not self-raising)|
|25g / 1½oz Parmesan cheese plus a little more for topping|
|40g / 1½oz strong Cheddar cheese|
|A pinch of Cayenne pepper|
|Optional level teaspoon of mustard powder|
|Salt and ground black pepper to taste|
|Optional toppings (see Cook's Notes above)|
Most pastry mixes require resting for 30 minutes in the fridge to allow the gluten in flour to loose some of its elasticity. This pastry also needs to be rested for 30 minutes but don't put it in the fridge just leave it in the kitchen in a cold place. This makes rolling it it out much easier.
You can use pre-grated Parmesan cheese but it definitely lacks taste
compared to a chunk of Parmesan which has been freshly grated. Sometimes a
normal food grater is not up to the job of grating fresh parmesan. If its
too difficult you have two options, cut the rind off the Parmesan (it is the
most solid part). The other option is to invest in a proper Parmesan Cheese
grater. This makes short work of grating Parmesan and it will last you
several years. It's probably easiest to buy them online, just type "Parmesan
cheese grater" into Bing or Google Search engine and several options will pop up.
Recipe by David Marks.
Wrap in cling film and store it in the kitchen for 30 minutes. Don't put this pastry mix in the fridge, this will only make it very difficult to roll out. Turn on the oven to 180°C / 350°F / Gas Mark 4 to pre-heat it.
Place the baking tray in the pre-heated oven and bake for ten minutes. If your oven cooks unevenly then turn the tray round after five minutes. The biscuits are cooked when they begin to turn golden brown. This may well take longer than ten minutes but check every minute past that time because they burn very easily.
Small chunks of sweet pepper, sweet paprika sprinkled over the top or a small amount of pesto are all colourful and tasty. The winning topping though is the peel from a chunky marmalade. Its bitter sweet taste is the perfect accompaniment to the savoury biscuits.