It happens every holiday season: You get company you're not expecting.
Although you're delighted to see them, drop in visitors have a way of arriving when you're least prepared for them. If the house is a mess, the bathroom needs cleaning, and the beds are unmade, I can be pretty sure we'll have unexpected company.
I no longer apologize about the state of my house. My guests are here to see us, not our home, and if they can't overlook the untidiness they shouldn't be dropping by.
I do, however, feel strongly that every guest should be offered some sort of food and drink every time they visit. It's a rule. A visit during which no food and drink is offered means poor hospitality to me.
These biscuits were made in response to just such a drop in visit. I needed something that could be quickly assembled from ingredients I had on hand.
They turned out well, even if I do say so myself; with a surprisingly big, peppery flavour to which the goat cheese provided a pleasant, tangy counterpoint.
I served my biscuits with pepper jam on the side. The peppers in the jam added a sweeter high note that complimented the flavours in the biscuits nicely.
To make black pepper and rosemary biscuits with goat cheese, you'll need:
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 Tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 Tablespoons cold butter
- 3/4 cup milk
- about 3 ounces of chevre
Whisk together the flours, baking powder, salt, rosemary, and black pepper.
Cut the butter into slices and add it to the flour mixture. Rub the pieces of butter between your thumb and forefinger to break them down to the size and shape of cornflakes.
Use your hands to gently toss the butter through the flour.
Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add in the milk.
Stir to make a stiff dough, then knead the dough in the bowl a few times, until it holds together. Try not to overwork it.
Roll the dough out about 1/3 inch thick and use a biscuit cutter or cookie cutter to cut 2-inch rounds.
(I used a fluted cutter because that's what I had, but the fluting is lost as you assemble the biscuits. A plain cutter will work just as well.)
Scoop a small amount of chevre (about 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoonful) and place it in the center of one of the dough rounds.
Place a second round of dough on top of the cheese and then pinch the edges of the two biscuit rounds together.
Continue to assemble biscuits in this manner, placing them on a parchment lined baking sheet as they are completed.
You can roll the dough out twice but don't roll it out a third time. The butter breaks down too much, resulting in a tough biscuit. Once you've cut as many pieces as you can from the second rolling, gather the remaining bits of dough together and form them into an unfilled biscuit. Consider it the "cook's bonus."
Brush the tops of the assembled biscuits with a little milk so that they brown, then bake them in a 400F oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until they're cooked through and a light golden brown in colour.
Serve the biscuits hot from the oven.