Pistachio & Cambozola Cheese Sables
This weeks Friday Cocktail is a bit different and I hope you’ll enjoy it; after all, beverages are only one component of Happy Hour and we need the accompanying foods too, right?
I participate in a monthly event called #Baketogether that was started by my friend Abby Dodge. Abby is a former pastry chef and is now an experienced recipe developer and cookbook author who has graced my life and many others with fabulous recipes in both book and magazine form. For those of us lucky enough to participate in this monthly event, we are always blessed with both inspiration for our monthly post and a delightful and quirky sense of humor. I won’t deny. I love Abby Dodge.
After a great bread called Boule that we went crazy for in January which was followed by cheesecake in February, Abby wisely gave us a savory and wonderful sable, a French biscuit that has a shortbread like texture I love. A combination of butter, cheese, flour and cayenne, they are a lovely hors d’oeuvre that we enjoyed served with some fabulous local dry sausage from Denver’s own Paisano Sausage Company and the perfect accompanying wine from Denver’s Balistreri Vineyard.
Utilizing a technique called fraisage, the dough is quickly pulsed together in a food processor and then dumped on a flat surface where the dough is smeared with the palm of your hand, creating layers of butter and dough and resulting in the tender and flaky biscuit that is a new favorite of mine; as evidenced by all of them being gone. Every. Single. One. If you decide to try these yourself, be sure to check out Abby’s post where she has a nice pictorial illustrating the fraisage technique.
I was late getting my baking project done this month and wondered what I could possibly bring to the table that would be unique; I saw so many great variations being made. As often happens with me, my inspiration came about in a very mundane way. Hmm, wonder what I have in the fridge? What I found? The perfect cheese! I had been shopping with my friend Karen a few weeks ago and we ran to Costco (two food bloggers in Costco…look out!). Karen was familiar with this cheese and highly recommended it and I was game to try it. And now I love it.
Cambozola is a cow’s milk cheese that is a combination of a French soft-ripened triple cream cheese and Italian Gorgonzola. This cheese was initially developed circa 1900 and produced by the German company Champignon; in the 1970’s Champignon patented and industrially produced their product for the world market. In English-speaking countries, cambozola is often marketed as blue brie and that is a perfect description for this wonder, triple cream cheese. I wanted to add a nut to the mix as well and in one of those fortuitous moments I spied a bag of pistachios. Normally reserved for munching straight from the bag in my home, I thought they would not only taste great with the cheese I was adding but would add a great texture and a bit of color too.
I was very lucky to have a gift basket of great goodies that I received recently when I was a guest of Paisano Sausage and their hot, dry sausage was a perfect compliment. The olives had come my way from Star Fine Foods when I helped them put on a food event in Denver a few months ago and even our wine was local; procured for us from Balistreri Vineyards by the folks at Paisano. Although the olives are from California, I was still acutely aware of how ‘locavore’ this Happy Hour assemblage was!
This was a very savory board of goodies so I was happy that I had the Balistreri Sangiovese to serve alongside. This is a beautifully balanced wine; the cream soda on the nose leads you into the big cherry flavors that finish with traces of walnut and a spicy dry finish. The 2010 vintage received a Gold Medal last year at the Colorado Mountain WineFest, Best of the Fest Competition. Taking these savory biscuits over the top was just a smidge of apricot jam; that fruity mix with the blue cheese and pistachios was, well, I already mentioned there were none left, right?
Now I can’t wait to try versions friends have made; make sure you check those out at the bottom of Abby’s post; you could be baking sables for weeks too! And if you are so inclined? Join us; it’s a fun, supportive community of bloggers and I think we all learn something from each other. Abby does a post on the first of each month with her latest idea and we can make it as is or put our own spin on it but however we participate there is always fun during the process!
Missing your cocktail fix? Then be sure to scoot over to my friend Nancy’s site for one I can’t wait to make, the Blushing Lady; a combination of pomegranate liqueur, lemon vodka and pink grapefruit juice. Cheers!
Pistachio & Cambozola Cheese Sables with Denver Sausage & Wine for #Baketogether and #HappyHourFriday
- 1 ⅓ cups 6 ounces all purpose flour
- ½ cup 2 ounces Cambozola (substitute a combination of Brie and Bleu cheese if you can't locate this cheese)
- 1 tsp salt
- ⅛ teaspoon or more to taste ground cayenne pepper
- 8 tablespoons 4 ounces unsalted butter, cut into 7 slices, well chilled
- 2 tablespoons + 1 1/2 teaspoons very cold water
- ¼ cup chopped pistachios process in a food processor
- Put the flour, cheese, salt and cayenne in the bowl of your food processor and pulse briefly to combine.
- Add the butter and pulse until the butter pieces are slightly larger than pea size, about 10 to 12 pulses depending on your machine.
- Add the largest pieces of pistachio to the mix (leave the finer crumbs on the counter to garnish the dough) and pulse one or two times.
- Drizzle the water evenly over the flour mixture.
- Pulse until the dough begins to form moist crumbs that are just beginning to clump together, about 8 or 9 more pulses depending on your machine.
- Empty the crumbs onto a counter-top (without flour) and gather into a pile. With the heel of your hand, push and gently smear the crumbs away from you until they start to come together in a cohesive dough.
- Two or three ‘smears’ should do the trick. Using a bench scraper, gather the dough together and turn it about 45 degrees and give it one or two more smears.
- Gather the dough together and shape the dough into a 7 1/4-inch long and 2 1/4 -inch wide rectangle using the bench scraper to make the sides nice and straight.
- Press the fine pistachio crumbs left from processing into the top and/or bottom of the dough depending on how much you have.
- Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until very firm, about 3 hours, or up to 2 days.
- Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 375°F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment.
- Using a thin, sharp knife, cut the logs into 1/4-inch slices and arrange about 1 inch apart (without leavening you don't really have to worry about them spreading) on the prepared sheets.
- Bake, one sheet at a time, until nutty brown around the edges, 16 to 18 minutes.
- Serve slightly warm or room temperature.
We enjoyed some fabulous preserves from my friend Wendy at Sunchowder’s Emporia; be sure to check out the wonderful combinations she offers on her website.
Excellent. I was at my local country market earlier today – they often get in large shipments of cheese or sausage and sell at a steep discount – but I’ve NEVER found Cambozola on sale, ever! I had an idea someone must have developed a recipe like this – and sure enough, here it is! I haven’t even taken my jacket off. I’m going to try the recipe right now and it’s as good as I expect, these will be included in my xmas baskets. I don’t have pistachios at the moment but pecans or hazelnuts should be fine.
I agree Ann…either of those nuts should be perfect…and you’re actually working with a real pros recipe so I expect great success for you. Abby Dodge has the training, experience and more to make me trust anything I make of hers. Let us know; I’m sure Abby will be equally delighted!
How fascinating! I’m really interested in this fraisage technique now and will give it a go 🙂
The results are simply stellar and it’s fun to be given instructions to play with your food. 🙂
Delicious looking sables!! Want some 🙂
Pure perfection! You’ve not left anything out!
I don’t know where to start…I guess I will start with a little taste of every thing! Your sables turned out perfectly. I love Cambozola cheese and need to try your recipe with it…wonderful, Barb!
Oh you sables look amazing. Love the use of pistachio nuts. I must go to my Costco to see if they have Cambozola
I dare say…at least for me, it is the perfect blue cheese. I’ve never liked really strong blue cheese; opting typically for gorgonzola and now this…a soft creamy cheese with some blue? Perfect. If they don’t have it; leave a suggestion for them, they gotten things in that I’ve asked for. Mascarpone is next!
These sound FANTASTIC. Do you think I could make them round, like a thumbprint cookie? I’ve been looking for a savory cookie recipe to try for an idea I have…
You could but they can’t be too thick; I saw one user make thicker ones and not as happy as if she had stuck to the plan. But still, round with an indent would be fine.
Oh, these look amazing. I’m such a failure – I promised my self I’d make these, but haven’t quite made it yet and everyones’ just look sooooo good!
Abby is so sweet; be tardy and we’ll include you! They are actually so easy to make..I did mine in the morning and then cut them and baked them in the evening to enjoy with some friends. As my daughter would say, ‘Yummers.’
These sound divine! Do you cut the rind off the cheese?
I did remove the rind Amy; I suppose some like it, but it’s not my preference so I get rid of it!
im having trouble sending recipes to my shopping list. Can u explain how to do it?
Oh my, this appetizer girl is in love! I keep reading recipes for sables, I love the idea of a savory cookie:-) Yum, Hugs, Terra
You must try these Terra. Really so very easy. Another one I want to try is lavender and lemon. Because YOU got me thinking about lavender!
Oh I just love everything about this recipe! Perfect for happy hour, or entertaining any time. Great technique.
So easy too Katherine; I’m making more today to keep in the freezer; perfect for last minute needs…you know. Neighbors, wine…and these!
wow! this is such an interesting concept..cheese and cayenne..yum!
These sables sound so absolutely delicious! The ingredients remind me a lot of a classic Southern Cheese Straw. Yum.
Very similar and if I had used cheddar would have been on the money. The original recipe called for Parmesan so the beauty is in the mixing it up of ingredients. I liked this combo a lot; enough that I bought some more cheese yesterday. I’m going to make a couple of batches and put them in the freezer for those spur of the moment backyard gettogethers I love in the warmer months.
Wow! You never disappoint, Barb. These sables look absolutely delicious. I’ve never had cambozola cheese before but now I must!
This was my first time too Kate and I’m totally in love with this cheese; even bought some more yesterday. I like blue cheese in small doses and this is perfect. It’s got that rich triple creme mouthfeel but veined with some blue so it’s there but it’s not overpowering. I think I’ve found MY perfect blue cheese.
All I can think of is that great minds do indeed think alike. Like I said before, beautiful photo. I hope you’ll look at mine and notice my white balance. Thanks for the tutorial. I’m sure you’ll be surprised that I remembered how to do it.
You kill me. I did notice…very nice and of course I expected you to remember it silly. What I always get a kick out of after setting white balance is the look through the viewfinder. I ‘thought’ it looked fine but after changing I see how much finer! Now off to nap so I can get enough sleep this weekend to be able to get up at the crack of dawn Monday. Do we need to take a trailer with us…hauling back 40 lbs of sausage!
What an appetizer…bookmarking for our next get-together!
The thing I love too is that they are so versatile; if not for the stick of butter I would have already tried my next batch using my own home cured bacon and some cheddar. Shoot…want to do that now, like today!
Whoops!! I hit submit too soon – THANK YOU for the mention of the Blushing Lady!!! One day, we are gonna have to get together over one of these cocktails!
I love savory sables (phew… good think I haven’t had a cocktail yet because I shudder to think what that would sound like otherwise :-)) Cambozola is one of my favorites – although truth be told I’ve never met a blue I didn’t like – with pistachios shortbread… heaven!!! I always make these for events – so easy to make, so adaptable and as your photo shows, they make a gorgeous addition to a charcuterie board. Next iteration? Sables made with your bacon…. and a little good cheddar perhaps… oh my……
I think Cambozola is my new favorite; I like a subtle blue and it sure delivers. Bought some more last night even; I love the choices Costco has in their cheese case; it’s like a gourmet store. I had threatened to make with bacon but went this direction because I didn’t want to do the ‘expected’ so it will happen. Promise.
I can almost taste these. Great combination of flavors, Barb.
Thank you Lisa but fate gets all the accolades; it seems these two were meant to be paired!
Just gorgeous Barb! This combination looks great and the photos are fabulous as always. I adore sables, can’t wait to try your version…no one but me in my famiily goes for pistachios–makes a great reason to go get some!
Thanks so much Wendy; who knew that beyond the product that you would be supplying me with the cutest jam prop jars ever! Off now to have some with bagels, yes it’s true!
Oh I love those sables, beautiful, and I am a big fan of cambozola. The pistachio is a brilliant addition.
Like anything else we venture into trying; some things sound great but don’t deliver the goods. This was not the case here; It was fortuitous to have them on hand; I’ll be baking with them more often I’m sure
Gorgeous! I think I’d have to make a triple batch!
I suffered some (but not many) pangs of guilt that a small group of us finished these off. Go ahead, triple it but have help available to eat them! 🙂
All kidding aside, the dough can be frozen and the next batch I make I think I’ll try that and have something ready to go in the freezer. They are that good.
These sables look wonderful and such a fantastic appetizer. I eat pistachios by the bagfuls but unfortunately, when I want them for cooking or baking…oops I’ve snacked them into oblivion!
Your description of the wine is wonderful and of the food! Makes one want to dash out and purchase everything in order to try and re-create your beautiful post in time for 5:00 o’clock.
Have a lovely weekend Barb!
They were so easy to make and so good Paula; luckily I did have some friends here to help me…it was one of those, ‘I’ll just have one more.’ moments that continued til they were gone! You have a lovely weekend too Paula; ours is off to a good start. Cool but sunny and the birds are singing; perfect for some of the yard work I must get done.