Now I know what you might be thinking: yuck, blue cheese. I am not at all a fan of blue cheese in its naked and natural state. Too strong for my delicate tongue! But these little shortbread cracker/cookies paired with a mango or ginger chutney are FABULOUS, the tastes blend together really nicely and the sweet of the ginger takes the bite out of the blue cheese.
I served these at a dinner party as an hors d'oeuvre. At first they were just looked at...people were not confident in the chutney part, I think. But then one person ate one...his eyes bulged (that was a good thing). The next person ate one, said "Wow, the tastes come at you one at a time!" and the next thing you knew my platter was empty.
I served them with a "schmear" of cream cheese (I love the word "schmear" and find it is not used quite often enough), then a toasted walnut and finally a "dollop" (gotta love the word "dollop" as well...) of ginger chutney. I bought my ginger chutney at the local Fresh Market in the jams/jellies section of the store. The tastes merged so well. First you taste the chutney, then the cream cheese and walnut, then "bam" you get a nice taste of blue cheese, but nothing too strong.
They make a gorgeous hors d'oeuvre for holiday parties, particularly if you cut them out with a small (1 inch) fluted, round cookie cutter. Very pretty.
1/2 cup blue cheese (I used Bleu d'Auvergne) at room temp.
3 Tb unsalted butter, room temp.
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. coarse salt
1/3 cup chopped toasted pecans
Ginger chutney (I used about 1/2 of a small jar)
1/2 c. walnut halves (you will need one for each shortbread)
Italian flat parsley for garnish
Combine blue cheese and butter in food processor and process until creamy.
Mix flour, cornstarch, pepper and salt together in a small bowl. Add to the blue cheese mixture.
Pulse to combine.
Add the chopped pecans, process until incorporated.
Remove mixture from food processor and shape into a ball, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour.
Preheat oven to 325 F.
Place the chilled dough on a lightly floured work surface and cover with a piece of plastic wrap. Roll dough about 1/8 inch thick and cut into 1 inch circles using a fluted cookie cutter (or circular if you don't have fluted...you can play with your shapes here, use a leaf cutter, a flower, as long as it's smallish). Place on a parchment or silpat-lined baking sheet and bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes. Let cool.
**Shortbread can be prepared up to 3 days in advance and stored in an airtight container. Assemble one hour before serving.
Spread a bit of cream cheese on each shortbread, top with a walnut half and a teaspoon of ginger chutney. Add a leaf of parsley for garnish.