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Parmesan Shortbreads

by . Featured in NIGELLISSIMA
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Introduction

This is an Italian-inspired recipe that comes to me from Australia via Brazil. To explain: a Brazilian friend, and the best cook I know, Helio Fenerich made it for me, and I had to keep (rudely) asking him to carry on making it for me. Eventually, I begged him for the recipe, which he told me he’d found in Australia. The journey was certainly worthwhile: it is a complete winner; I go into auto-Parmesan-shortbread mode whenever I have friends coming for supper, as not only is it perfect with drinks, but it can be made in advance.

Indeed, you can make the dough, wrap it and then leave in the fridge for up to 3 days before slicing and baking it as instructed below, although you will need to let these cheese-scented cylinders sit out on a kitchen surface just long enough to get the fridge-chill off them before slicing.

This is an Italian-inspired recipe that comes to me from Australia via Brazil. To explain: a Brazilian friend, and the best cook I know, Helio Fenerich made it for me, and I had to keep (rudely) asking him to carry on making it for me. Eventually, I begged him for the recipe, which he told me he’d found in Australia. The journey was certainly worthwhile: it is a complete winner; I go into auto-Parmesan-shortbread mode whenever I have friends coming for supper, as not only is it perfect with drinks, but it can be made in advance.

Indeed, you can make the dough, wrap it and then leave in the fridge for up to 3 days before slicing and baking it as instructed below, although you will need to let these cheese-scented cylinders sit out on a kitchen surface just long enough to get the fridge-chill off them before slicing.

Parmesan Shortbreads
Photo by Petrina Tinslay

Ingredients

Makes: 35-40 shortbreads

Metric Cups
  • 150 grams plain flour
  • 75 grams grated parmesan
  • 100 grams soft unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup grated parmesan
  • 7 tablespoons soft unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg yolk

Method

  1. Mix all the ingredients together – using bowl and spoon, electric mixer or food processor as wished – until a golden dough begins to form a clump.
  2. Turn it out onto a surface and knead for about 30 seconds until smooth, then divide into two.
  3. Take the first half and, using your hands, roll it into a cylinder, as uniform as possible without stressing over it, about 3cm / 1¼ inches in diameter. Make sure the ends are flat, too, so that the cylinder resembles a roll of coins. Now roll this up in a piece of clingfilm, twisting the clingfilm at the ends, like a Christmas cracker, and put the roll in the fridge, then proceed in the same way with the remaining half of the dough.
  4. Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4/350ºF while the wrapped cylinders of dough rest in the fridge for about 45 minutes, by which time you should be able to cut them into thick slices easily: aim for about 1cm / ½ inch thick.
  5. Arrange on a baking sheet lined with baking parchment, and put in the oven for 15–20 minutes, when they should be just beginning to turn a pale gold at the edges.
  6. Remove from the oven, then leave to cool (if you can) before eating.
  1. Mix all the ingredients together – using bowl and spoon, electric mixer or food processor as wished – until a golden dough begins to form a clump.
  2. Turn it out onto a surface and knead for about 30 seconds until smooth, then divide into two.
  3. Take the first half and, using your hands, roll it into a cylinder, as uniform as possible without stressing over it, about 3cm / 1¼ inches in diameter. Make sure the ends are flat, too, so that the cylinder resembles a roll of coins. Now roll this up in a piece of clingfilm, twisting the clingfilm at the ends, like a Christmas cracker, and put the roll in the fridge, then proceed in the same way with the remaining half of the dough.
  4. Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4/350ºF while the wrapped cylinders of dough rest in the fridge for about 45 minutes, by which time you should be able to cut them into thick slices easily: aim for about 1cm / ½ inch thick.
  5. Arrange on a baking sheet lined with baking parchment, and put in the oven for 15–20 minutes, when they should be just beginning to turn a pale gold at the edges.
  6. Remove from the oven, then leave to cool (if you can) before eating.

Tell us what you think

What 11 Others have said

  • I sprinkle just a few chilli flakes on top of mine, really makes them irresistible and flavoursome...

    Posted by Leonorra on 1st January 2016
  • I would like to know if this recipe can be frozen once it has been rolled into a cylinder and then cooked at a later date.

    Posted by JudithTownsend on 29th January 2013
  • I made these last week, but felt they lacked salt! So today I added some salt and also another 25 g of parmesan and cut them slightly thinner, and the result was much more to our liking, more flavour and crispier! Huge success.

    Posted by Hoppe on 10th January 2015
  • I found this recipe after trying some at a VIP do. Everyone passed over them, so we ended up putting the plate on the table............they were gone. Have made them twice now and everyone has gone mad on them. WELL DONE absolutely divine.

    Posted by wussrats on 12th July 2014
  • So simple to make, yet so delicious to eat!! I made these as little canapes (on Christmas Eve) for Christmas, whilst my family were waiting for their starters , and they went down a treat. They are perfect, but be careful. Make sure too stick to the specified time and don't overcook them because otherwise they won't be as nice the next day, as they will harden and become more solid. So use within the first 2 days of baking.

    Posted by benwhite44 on 10th May 2014
  • I have made these so many times - quick and easy and, of course, delicious. I sprinkle paprika over the top just to add a splash of colour and heat to the flavour.

    Posted by Ali-Baba on 7th April 2014
  • I made these yesterday to take upto some friends and they went down a storm. They were very simple to make and absolutely delicious.

    Posted by Clarence79 on 30th December 2013
  • The cylinders can just as easily be popped into the freezer, so I make at least 2 batches at once so I have some to freeze. I also use a similar method for a cream cheese pastry I use to make tarts- a large cylinder which when cut into disks is easily pressed into silicon cupcake 'tins' to make individual quiches, Swedish almond tarts, etc.

    Posted by Snuva on 21st December 2013
  • I have made these with Mature Cheddar cheese - equal quantities of flour, cheese and butter - dead easy. Maybe a dash of dried mustard as well.

    Posted by RossieG on 2nd December 2013
  • As an Australian, I grew up with Parmesan Shortbreads, served with sherry or a whisky before dinner. There was always dough in the freezer to make them. Over the years we made variations, using the basic dough recipe, caraway seeds were added, or gorgonzola or cheddar, or simply some basil or parsley. I'm not much of a biscuit maker, but these Parmesan Shortbreads and Nigella's Shortbread, which are served with her lemon custard are always a success!

    Posted by iKitty on 5th December 2013
  • Goodmorning, Nigella! My recipe is without egg. You can see it here: http://acquacottaf.blogspot.it/2012/08/biscottini-al-parmigiano.html.

    Posted by Giovanna M. on 20th January 2013
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