Well you are in for a real treat if you make these little savoury cheese and ham biscuits. They are truly an absolute sensation for the taste buds. They are incredibly tasty and somehow manage to be both a sweet and savoury experience all in one. The sharp mature cheddar and Parma ham combined with a subtle peppery boost of cayenne pepper really just works perfectly. And they look pretty too!
For something so little they pack a huge punch. As they say, good things come in small parcels.
The challenge with these cheese and ham biscuits (speaking personally here) is not to eat them in one go. I am not doing too well with that challenge...
If you are a more savoury bake person than a sweet bake person you will truly adore these. They are also really quick and simple to make and the aroma whilst they bake is mouth watering.
But I stand aside for the glory of this recipe.
This recipe comes direct from my mum. It's a little number she threw together on the spur of the moment. As she does, because she is something of a legend in the kitchen.
So I want to treat the world to one of her mini works of wonder. Trust me, you won't regret it.
Why do these little cheese and ham biscuits work so well?
Mature cheddar: you need to use a good strong mature cheddar for this recipe, that way the cheese flavour really cuts through.
Cayenne pepper: just a pinch is needed to give the biscuits a kick of fieriness, but only a pinch otherwise the cayenne will take over the show completely.
Parma ham: the sweet and salty flavours of Parma ham really add to the intensity of flavour of these little savoury biscuits.
Mix of flours: the addition of wholemeal flour gives a gentle hint of nuttyness to these biscuits which compliments the mature cheddar and Parma ham flavours and gives the biscuits yet another dimension.
Using block butter straight from the fridge: these biscuits have a pastry base and the secret to good pastry is to use very cold butter and to avoid handling or kneading the mixture as much as possible. Grating the butter and then rolling in the flours first ensures that it is quickly incorporated with the other ingredients when everything is added to the food processor.
Tasty little cheese and Parma ham biscuits that work so well as a snack, on a cheese board or as a canape.
Important to remember when making these little cheese and ham biscuits
Resting time: chilling the biscuits thoroughly allows them to set so that they can be easily sliced. You may find if you try to slice them up without waiting for an hour they fall apart.
Cooking temperature: these savoury biscuits take 25-30 minutes to cook at a medium over temperature. A medium temperature ensures that the biscuits cook through gently and result in a crisp snap. Turn them over half way through to ensure they cook evenly on both sides.
If you prefer a more subtle cheese flavour you can try a milder cheddar or Gruyere cheese, both will will just as well.
You can swap the Parma ham with normal ham, or cooked pancetta or bacon will work very well. Use the same quantities.
How to make little cheese and ham biscuits
So they are super easy and quick to make.
Firstly, prepare all of your ingredients, grate your cheese, grate your butter, remove the fat from your Parma ham and slice thinly. Weigh out your flours and add a pinch of cayenne to them.
Toss your grated butter in the flours, ensuring it is fully coated and then add to your food processor, then add in all of the rest of the ingredients.
Mix for 25 pulses in your food processor or until the ingredients start to come together in small clumps. Don't be tempted to overmix.
Tip onto a very lightly floured service, and bring the ingredients together but do not knead. Press the mixture together with your hands and then roll into a sausage shape of 3cm in width and about 17cm long.
Wrap tightly in clingfilm and refrigerate for at lease an hour, so the mixture sets. Then remove from the clingfilm and slice into 24 biscuits. To do this evenly first slice the biscuit sausage in half, then cut those halves in half so you have 4 equal segments. Cut these 4 segments in half, then cut each of these segments into 3 equal sized biscuits.
Spread out your sliced biscuits onto a greaseproof covered baking sheet, the biscuits will not spread so you can put them quite close together. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown, turning over half way through.
What can you serve with these savoury biscuits?
These biscuits are great for a snack, put them out and watch they go!
They are the perfect accompaniment to a glass of port, or on a cheese board.
Or they work really well as an canape. Top them them with cream cheese and half a great. The cream cheese will sit nicely against the sharpness of the biscuits and the textures will complement each other.
So please bake and enjoy and leave me a comment if you can to let me know how you got on.
- Food processor
- Large baking sheet
- 50 g unsalted cold butter coarsely grated
- 75 g strong cheddar cheese thinly grated
- 50 g Parma ham or cooked smoked bacon or cooked pancetta fat removed and cut into small pieces
- 50 g plain flour
- 25 g wholemeal flour
- pinch cayenne pepper
- Mix the flours and cayenne pepper together in a bowl.
- Toss the grated butter into the flour mixture and coat, then add to your food processor.
- Add your cheese and Parma ham to the food processor.
- Pulse for about 25 pulses until just coming together in clumps.
- Tip out onto a very lightly floured worksurface and bring together.
- Roll with your hands into a sausage shape, 3cm in depth and about 17cm in length??
- Wrap tightly in cling film and refrigerate for at least an hour.
- Heat your oven to 180°C/160°C fan/Gas mark 4??
- Take a large sized baking tray and line with greaseproof paper.
- Remove the cling film and slice the chilled dough into 24 slices, about 3mm thick.
- Spread out on your baking tray.
- Bake for approximately 15 minutes then carefully turn the biscuits over with a spatula.
- Bake for another 10-15 minutes.
- As soon as baked remove with a spatula onto a cooling rack.