Sunday, 14 October 2012

Tiny cheese and olive scones

With the risk of sounding a bit like Nigella here, these little scones are ideal if you are thinking of having a drinks party and you want something lovely just to serve warm as little canapes. Ideal for Christmas time, they freeze well and can just be defrosted and warmed up, then buttered just before serving. I have made them for years out of Delias Christmas Cookbook, and have always had such compliments on them.

Makes about 26

40g Parmesan, grated
40g strong cheddar, grated
1 medium onion, diced small
6 black olives pitted and chopped
1 tbsp of olive oil
25g butter
175g self raising flour
½ level tsp salt
½ level tsp mustard powder
½ level tsp cayenne pepper
1 large egg beaten
approx 2-3 tablespoons milk
freshly milled black pepper

Fry the onion in the oil over a highish heat for about 5-6 minutes or until it's a nice brown caramel colour and darkened at the edges. Keep it moving about so that it doesn't burn. Now transfer it to a plate to cool. While that's happening, take a large mixing bowl, sift in the flour, salt, mustard powder and cayenne, and add a good grinding of black pepper (the scones need to have a piquant bite). Now rub in the butter, toss in the cooled onion, the olives and two thirds of the grated cheeses, forking them in evenly. Beat the egg and pour this in, mixing first with a knife and finally with your hands, adding only enough milk to make a soft dough – it mustn't be too sticky. Turn the dough out on to a lightly floured surface, knead it gently till it's smooth, then roll it out to about ¾ inch (2 cm) thick, being careful not to roll it too thinly. Next, use a 1¼ inch (3 cm) plain cutter for cutting: place it lightly on the dough and give a sharp tap to stamp out the scones. Lightly knead together and re-roll any trimmings. Then, when all the scones are cut, brush them with milk, top them with the remaining grated cheese and bake them near the top of the oven for 10-12 minutes. Remove them to a wire rack to cool.

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