The best cheese and cracker!
You know those flavor combinations that are totally unexpected but just knocks you off your feet? This is one of those. I even had to make a new label category for this: perfect pairings. We can't take credit for it though; it comes from the Swedish food magazine Allt Om Mat (we've subscribed for something like five years, and keep every issue. Nothing we've ever made from it has turned out bad).
So, what's this perfect pairing then? It's a biscotti-like biscuit with almonds, vanilla, sesame seeds and anise, that you serve with strawberry-apple jam and a slice of chèvre (goat's cheese). The combination of flavors and textures is spot on. The biscuit is crunchy and sweet, but not overly so, and you can definitely taste both the sesame seeds, the anise and the vanilla. Together with the salty, creamy chèvre and the sweet strawberry jam with a slight tang from the apples, this is perfect matchmaking of flavors.
Markus made a batch of the strawberry-apple jam this summer when fresh strawberries were cheap and in abundance. I never got around to making the biscuits then, but I decided that it was time now, before we run out of jam (it's also great with freshly baked scones).
Like most biscotti recipes I have come across, the dough has a tendency to crumble and fall apart (I remember being nearly in tears trying to make lavender biscotti with a particularly unccoperative dough). Instead of rolling the dough out, you might find it easier to sort of squeeze-shape it into long sausage-shaped rolls.
Sesame biscuits with chèvre and strawberry-apple jam
makes about 40
1 dl almonds
100 g butter, at room temperature
½ dl sugar
1 tsp vanilla sugar
2 tsp ground anise
5 dl flour
1½ tsp baking powder
½ dl sesame seeds (black or white)
Set the oven to 175°C.
Chop the almonds.
Mix butter, sugar, vanilla sugar and anise. Add the eggs, one at the time, and mix them in well.
Mix the flour and the baking powder and add to the batter.
Last, add the sesame seeds and chopped almonds.
Shape the dough into two rolls, about 40 cm long. Place them on a parchment covered baking sheet and flat them out slightly with your hand.
Bake for 20 minutes, remove them from the oven and let cool. Lower the oven temperature to 150°C. Cut the rolls, slightly diagonal to make the biscuits larger, into slices about 1½ cm thick. Lay them down so that the cut surface is up. Put them back in the oven and let them dry for about 25 minutes. Let them cool on a wire rack.
makes about 4 dl
200 g fresh strawberries
1 tbsp water
½ tbsp lemon juice
3 dl jelling sugar*
Peel and core the apple and cut it into small cubes. Cut the strawberries into smaller pieces.
Put apple, strawberries, water and lemon juice in a pan, bring to a boil and let it boil for five minutes. Add the jelling sugar, bring to a boil again and boil for three more minutes.
Pour the jam into a clean jar, let it cool and store in the fridge.
*jelling sugar (syltsocker in Swedish) is sugar with added pectine, citric acid and potassium sorbate.
To assemble: Put a slice of chèvre on a biscuit, and top with a spoonful of jam. Devour!