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Le Gruyère Reserve AOP cheeseboard with buckwheat oatcakes

by Nancy Anne Harbord
Le Gruyère Reserve AOP cheeseboard with buckwheat oatcakes

Le Gruyère Reserve AOP cheeseboard with buckwheat oatcakes

PT45M

Why not try?

What's not to love about a cheeseboard? Especially when a beautiful piece of carefully crafted cheese is matched with flavours and textures that complement its unique properties. As a vegetarian that loves eating out, I often opt for the cheeseboard instead of ploughing my way through another risotto or red onion tartlet – often a much safer bet, and far more interesting.

Gruyère Reserve AOP is a long-aged mountain cheese with complex flavours and aromas from the unique flora and fauna found in its unpasteurised milk. These volatile aroma compounds can be matched with a really interesting range of ingredients – some of which I have included on this cheeseboard – making for an elegant, unusual cheese plate with many layers of sophisticated flavour.

Hazelnuts complement the nutty flavours of Gruyère, especially when roasted. Buckwheat honey goes particularly well with this cheese; this is strongly flavoured honey, to many an acquired taste, but its farmyard flavours and distinct aromas echo similar properties in the Gruyère. Oats also go well with this cheese, so I have paired the Gruyère with classic oatcakes, made with a little buckwheat flour to further unite the flavours – a delectable, crumbly vehicle to move cheese to mouth. Berries offer a sweet/tart burst of flavour, always welcome on a cheeseboard, and help highlight gentle fruity notes in long-aged cheeses. A beautifully matured Port, its sweetness working exceptionally well with strong cheeses, finishes the plate.

Great for a creative end to a luxurious dinner, or for the final Christmas course, nibbled and sipped as the evening wears on.

Ingredients

Metric

Imperial

1
Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4. Add the oats, buckwheat flour, sugar, bicarbonate of soda and salt to a food processor
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2
Pulse until the oats are partly broken down and the mixture is thoroughly blended – you can choose here whether you want your oatcakes to be rustic (less blending) or more refined (more blending). I go for somewhere in between, but it’s nice to be able to see and taste some whole oats in the finished biscuit
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3
Add the butter and pulse until it has been mostly incorporated and the consistency is of large breadcrumbs
4
Drizzle in the hot water and pulse until the dough comes together. The amount of water you will need may vary depending on the oats in the flour, but the final dough should not be too moist as it will stick when you try to roll it out. When I first made these biscuits, I was concerned my dough was too dry, but after baking, the consistency was just right
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5
Lay a piece of greaseproof baking paper on a work surface and tip the dough onto the paper. Press the dough together with your hands to form a rough ball. Roll the dough out approximately 0.5cm thick and use a biscuit cutter to stamp out the oatcakes
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6
Using a spatula, carefully transfer the biscuits to a baking sheet, pressing the remaining dough back into a ball and rolling out again to make more biscuits – you may need to sprinkle it with a little water if it has dried out
7
Dampen the tops of the biscuits and sprinkle over some crushed hazelnuts and black pepper to garnish – there is no need to roast the hazelnuts in advance as they will roast as the oatcakes cook
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8
Bake for about 20 minutes, until lightly golden brown. Cool on a wire rack
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9
Roast the hazelnuts – this dramatically improves their nutty flavour. Spread them on a baking sheet (you can do this while you cook the biscuits) and roast for about 10 minutes
10
Serve the buckwheat oatcakes with a couple of slices of Gruyère Reserve AOP, a tiny drizzle of buckwheat honey, a sprinkle of roasted hazelnuts and the fresh blackberries – with a little Port for sipping
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