It’s British Cheese Week and what better way to celebrate than with a savoury riff on one of Britain’s favourite biscuits?
This bake all started with a discussion about cheese and pickle sandwiches. As far as I’m concerned, there is no better cheese to stuff inside a freshly baked loaf than British Farmhouse Cheddar and no better accompaniment to that Cheddar than some good ol’ Branston pickle. My other half disagrees and will always opt for piccalilli. A fine choice, it goes without saying, but it just doesn’t cut the mustard for me. Cheddar cheese and Branston pickle combined is a taste of my childhood. But since we’re celebrating British cheese, I wanted to push the boat out a little more than a knocking up a simple sanger, with a savoury twist on another much-loved British classic.
I have already made my own gluten free jammie dodgers filled with seedless raspberry jam, but this time I have swapped the sugar for gluten-free Cheddar shortbread, half filled with piccalilli and the rest with Branston* sandwich pickle. I used the strongest vintage Cheddar I could find, but if you prefer the milder things in life, you can always go for medium strength and leave out the cayenne pepper.
These little sandwich biscuits make a tasty savoury course (the Victorians would be proud) to be eaten at the end of your meal. If, three courses down, you can’t even make room for a wafer thin mint, let alone a cheese and pickle dodger, they also make a great mid-morning (or indeed afternoon) snack. Now all your little darlings are back at school, these biccies are the perfect treat for break-time (their’s or your’s).
They are also extremely versatile. If you’re no fan of pickle, try mango chutney or cream cheese instead. You can also swap the Cheddar for any hard cheese you like, but, for this week at least, please make sure it’s British.
Cheese and Pickle / Piccalilli Dodgers (Gluten free)
Makes 8 sandwich biscuits
50g soft unsalted butter
60g Cheddar cheese, finely grated
100g rice flour
A pinch of salt
A generous grind of black pepper
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
6cm crinkle round biscuit cutter
2.5cm heart shaped cutter
Pickle and/ or piccalilli
Preheat the oven to 170°C (150°C fan)/325°F/Gas Mark 3. Line a baking sheet or two with baking parchment.
Simply place all of the ingredients into a mixing bowl and mix until a dough forms. Roll out to a thickness of approximately half a centimetre and stamp out 16 rounds with your biscuit cutter. You can knead the dough and roll it out as many times as you like with gluten free shortbread, as there is no gluten to activate they will never become tough if you overwork them.
Next punch out a heart in the centre of half of the biscuits and place all the biscuits (and the hearts too if you want an extra cook’s treat) on a large baking tray. Pop the tray in the fridge to chill for at least half an hour.
Once chilled, bake the biscuits for 15 – 20 minutes or until pale golden and firm. Leave to cool completely on a wire rack before placing a teaspoon of with pickle or piccalilli on a whole biscuit and sandwiching a cut-out heart biscuit on top.
*Branston pickle contains barley malt vinegar but, due to the fermentation process used, the amount of gluten is extremely small and is well below the level deemed safe for sufferers of coeliac disease. Branston pickle is listed in Coeliac UK’s Food and Drink Directory as safe to eat. However, some people may find they still react to the tiny traces of gluten, so if you have coeliac disease, please indulge with caution.
For more delicious cheese recipes visit Great British Chefs collection.