As a somewhat professional pastry person and therefore disqualified from competing, I have a lot of feelings about the Great British Bake off. Most of which I will spare you! My main grudge is that the contestants do not seem to tidy up after themselves, one cut and the bench is neat and tidy. Who is the kitchen elf that does the washing up? Where can I get one?
On the positive side, many of the challenges I have never attempted (the French are unaware of fondant fancies!) or would never try at home (puff pastry is meant for a pastry break, the great powerful laminating machine). So I learn things by watching. And since they are in competition for most original, the flavours are often unique combinations that are unusual in France.
This week I had an apéritif dinatoire (a drinks party with snacks) to prepare – and the home bakers had savoury canapés. The poppy seed biscuits with beetroot, made by Ruby, stuck in my mind. Though they look bright and elegant with the disc of jelly on top, I made an easier version, one more adapted to a crowd.
A simple poppy and buckwheat dough, rolled out and cut into irregular triangles with a pasta wheel. (Since they tesselate, it saves on scraps.) Then goat’s cheese mixed with mascarpone and a little milk to a smooth creamy paste. This can be piped on with a star tip for a hint of kitsch, or dolloped just so. Top with little cubes of plain cooked beetroot – or cut larger triangles to match the shape of the biscuits.
A perfect mouthful, the rather severe biscuits with the expansive rich cheese and earthy magenta beetroot.
Poppy seed biscuits with beetroot and goat’s cheese
original recipe with beetroot jelly on the BBC website
makes 40 small canapes
75g white flour
75g buckwheat flour (or rye, or wholemeal)
pinch of salt
50g poppy seeds
2 tbsp water
100g soft goat’s cheese (the kind without a rind)
2-3 tbsp milk
2-3 small cooked beetroots
In a food processor, blend the flours, salt and butter until there are only pea-sized lumps. Add the poppy seeds then drizzle in the water until the dough starts to come together then bring together into a ball with your hands (add an extra tbsp water if needed). Push into a flat disc, wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Roll out quite thin and cut into irregular triangles. Bake at 175C for about 15 minutes. They should be crisp and ever so slightly golden around the edges. Let cool.
Mix the goat’s cheese, mascarpone and milk with some pepper to taste. Add more milk if needed, for a smooth pipable consistency. Finely dice the beetroot or cut into larger triangles to match the size of the biscuits. Pipe swirls of goat’s cheese, or or just dollop with a spoon, onto each biscuit and top with beetroot.