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Roquefort and Walnut Shortbreads
From A Table in the Tarn: Living, Eating and Cooking in Rural France, by Orlando Murrin

Our most elegant appetizer crisp, light and delectable. Once baked, you can keep the shortbreads for a week or so in an airtight container. Sandwich them up to two hours before serving.


1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
pinch of cayenne
1/2 cup Roquefort cheese
1 stick (8 tbsp) cold unsalted butter, cut in pieces
1 egg yolk, plus a little beaten egg to glaze
4050 walnut halves

For the Filling:

small Boursin cheese flavored with pepper, or 1/4 cup mascarpone blended with 3 Tbsp Roquefort and ground black pepper


Put the flour and cayenne in the processor and whiz to mix. Note that you do not need to add salt to this dough on account of the cheese. Add the Roquefort and butter and whiz to crumbs, then the egg yolk. The mixture needs to be fairly homogenous or the shortbreads will be dangerously flaky when baked, so if necessary scrape down the sides of the processor with a spatula and whiz again.

Lay two pieces of plastic wrap on the work surface and turn out half the dough on to each. Fold each up in the plastic wrap and shape into a flat disc about 3/4-inch thick. Chill for at least a couple of hours, or overnight is better if it seems too hard to roll out when you start it will become amenable in a matter of minutes.

Roll out on a well-floured surface to 1/12-inch thick and cut into 1 to 1-1/4-inch coins I have a fluted cutter for the purpose. Use a spatula if necessary to transfer to a nonstick baking sheet, or one lined with a nonstick silicone mat.

Press a perfect walnut half lightly but securely on to half of the shortbreads. Glaze shortbread and nut with a little beaten egg, trying to avoid run-off on to the baking sheet. Leave the other half plain. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes at 350F (175C) (same for convection)) until nicely golden. Allow to cool.

To fill the shortbreads, set out the bases in a row and the walnut tops in another row. Roll small balls of the filling between your palms and gently press on to the bases. If the filling is too sticky, use a teaspoon instead. Lay the walnut shortbreads on top and lightly press on the walnut to stick the sandwiches together. Transfer to a serving plate.

Yield: Makes 40 to 50 filled shortbreads allow 2 or 3 per guest

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