I hate to be such a downer but it’s been a long and dark winter…as usual. I know, I know: I live in Canada – it’s expected to be cold for half the year. Which is why Florida is crawling with Canadian seniors aka snowbirds this time of year. Then, by mid March, with the kids out on winter break, Toronto will be a ghost town. Almost everyone has gone to a beach town. Except for my family.
My husband Pierre and I like beaches and hot weather but only for about 20 minutes. I’ve never been fond of sunbathing with a fashion magazine while sipping pina coladas. Or sitting in a boat staring at the same flat horizon of water and sky kissing for hours on end. We’re just not beach people…at least I don’t think we are.
After perusing the net and stumbling on Corsica, I was left drunk with fantasies of beach cafes, feasting on fresh grilled fish, crisp perfume scented rosé, to the soundtrack of honey-dappled waves lapping. All the while gazing in awe at the backdrop of the mediterranean sea and rustic terracotta roofed homes. Okay. Perhaps I could become a beach bum.
Alas, I am here in the dead of winter, trying to do the next best thing to Corsica in the form of baking. Thus the Coppa di Corsica, gruyère cheese and tarragon biscuits. Dry coppa and gruyère are two staples in our fridge. If you’re not familiar with coppa, its cured pork, seasoned with red wine, garlic, herbs and spices. It’s similar to prosciutto but I find coppa more flavourful and tender. Gruyère, is a staple in our home because my daughter Moineau CANNOT live without it. Its a salty, slightly sweet cheese with a beautiful nutty, creamy taste and wonderful silky texture. Great for pasta, grilled cheese sandwiches and just simply to snack on. The tarragon adds an aromatic, licorice/anise like flavour. Pair the tarragon herb with the wine soaked pork and creamy cheese – this biscuit may not be Corsica but it’s pretty damn good. So I’ll take it… for now.
Coppa, Gruyère Cheese and Tarragon Biscuits
A savoury scone with a tender centre and a crisp exterior. Smoky, cheesy, slight anise like flavour makes this scone sublime. Normally I bake double the amount stated below.
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- 2 Cups/ 260 g AP flour
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 Cup/ 115 g unsalted cold butter
- 1 pack/130 g dry coppa (substitutions- bacon or prosciutto)
- 1 1/2 cup / 150 g grated gruyère cheese (substitutions-parmesan or strong cheddar)
- 3 tablespoons/ 15 G fresh tarragon, de-stemmed, leaves diced finely
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 large egg
- Preheat oven to 375F
- Grate butter on biggest hole on box grater into a ziplock or plastic container and pop in freezer
- Line baking sheet with parchment paper and lay the coppa down flat
- Bake for 7 minutes - watch carefully, some ovens can take 5 or 10 minutes...coppa should be just cooked slightly enough that its crispy once its cooled
- Once cooked, set aside and increase oven temperature to 425F
- Line a cool baking sheet with parchment paper
- In large bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar and whisk until well combined
- In a separate small bowl, whisk the egg...take about 2 tablespoons out and put in a separate small bowl and set aside.
- Add the cream to the larger portioned egg and whisk together. Set aside
- Add the chilled grated butter now into the flour/dry mixture and blend with a fork or pastry blender for a about 45 seconds until the four looks like lumpy flour bits
- Crumple in the coppa and mix
- Add the cheese and tarragon and combine
- Stir in the cream/egg mixture into the flour/dry bowl and combine with a spatula until the mixture comes together. Keep in mid the dough will be wet and somewhat sticky. If dry, add another tablespoon of cream
- Dump out onto large sheet of parchment paper and fold over the paper over onto the dough.
- Spread out with your hands so the thickness of the dough is about 1 1/4 inch or to your desired thickness.
- Flour a 2 1/2 inch round biscuit or cookie cutter (tumbler glass works too) and cut out the biscuits
- Smooth and flatten out remaining dough and repeat
- Brush the tops with egg wash set aside
- Bake for about 18-20 minutes or until tops are dappled with crispy gold
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