Apologies for my long absence – we’ve just returned from a long holiday to Canada and Alaska. I do normally publish posts when we’re away but the scenery and natural splendour of that part of the world were so amazing that I wanted to spend as little time as possible on my laptop. As you can imagine we took a LOT of photos which I’ll be boring my friends and family with over the coming weeks and these Stilton and walnuts crackers will make the perfect slide-night treat. Blue cheese and walnuts are one of those natural food pairings so it’s little wonder that these are very delicious and very addictive. They have a lovely shortbread like texture and would make a great accompaniment to a cheese board but they’re just as good on their own with a glass of wine or champagne. I sometimes make a batch of these and keep the uncooked log in the freezer and then just defrost, slice and bake them when needed.
Ingredients – Makes 30 crackers Adapted from Ina Garten/The Barefoot Contessa
120g unsalted butter at room temperature
230g Stilton cheese, crumbled, at room temperature – you can replace with any other semi-firm blue cheese
1½ cups plain flour
2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 extra-large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water for egg wash
½ cup roughly chopped walnuts – I used slightly more
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and cheese together for 1 minute, or until smooth. With the mixer on low-speed, add the flour, salt and pepper and mix until it’s in large crumbles, about 1 minute. Add 1 tablespoon of water and mix until combined.
Dump the dough onto a floured board, press it into a ball, and roll into a 12-inch long log. Brush the log completely with the egg wash. Spread the walnuts in a square on a cutting board and roll the log back and forth in the walnuts pressing lightly, and distributing them evenly on the outside of the log. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or for up to 4 days.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180C. Cut the log into slices that are just under a centimetre thick with a small, sharp knife and place the crackers on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 22 minutes until very lightly browned. Rotate the pan once during baking. Cool and serve at room temperature.