This is my first Ottolenghi recipe and I saw it right when we had a lot of leftover stilton and an unopened pack of dates! Our dates were not medjool, so I went with the 200g, but there was lots of date paste left over, so maybe use 12 dates …
About 12 medjool dates (200g), stones removed, flesh quartered
200g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
100g unsalted butter, fridge-cold, cut into 2cm dice
130g mature blue stilton, broken into 1cm pieces
⅓ tsp cayenne pepper
⅓ tsp salt
1 egg, lightly whisked
100g mature blue stilton, crumbled into small pieces
1 egg, lightly whisked
2 tsp poppy seeds
Makes about 30 biscuits with a 6cm-wide cookie cutter.
Put the dates in a small saucepan, cover with 250ml cold water and turn the heat to high. Once boiling, turn down the heat to medium-low and leave to simmer gently for 20 minutes, until there’s only about a tablespoon of liquid left in the pan. Spoon into the small bowl of a food processor and blitz for a minute, until the mix is the consistency of smooth jam, then set aside to cool.
Put the flour, butter, stilton, cayenne and salt into the large bowl of a food processor. Pulse for 30 seconds, until it’s the consistency of fine breadcrumbs, then add the egg and carry on pulsing until the pastry comes together into a ball. Turn out on to a clean work surface and bring the dough together with your hands, forming it into a 3cm-thick disc. Wrap in cling-film and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes, to rest.
Heat the oven to 170C. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the pastry into a 50cm-diameter circle about 2mm thick. Using a 6cm fluted pastry cutter, cut out circles from the dough. Gather up the pastry scraps, roll again into a round, then cut out more circles, and repeat; you should end up with about 60 pastry circles.
Spoon just under a teaspoon of the date paste in the centre of half the pastry circles, then spread out with the back of a spoon, taking it right to the edge of the biscuits. Sprinkle crumbled stilton over the paste, then top with the unused pastry circles and press down gently. Line two oven trays with greaseproof paper, then divide the 30 biscuits between them.
Brush the top of each biscuit lightly with egg wash and sprinkle with a pinch of poppy seeds. Bake for 12 minutes, until golden-brown on top and slightly puffed up, then leave the biscuits to cool for five minutes before serving warm or at room temperature.