My novel The Oakdale Dinner Club is about two women who become friends in their senior year of high school after they hand in identical answer sheets for a math test and are accused of cheating. They didn’t cheat – not consciously – but one of the two, high all-round achiever Mary Ann Gray, thinks maybe she and alterna-hippie Alice Maeda may have inadvertently read each other’s minds when they took the test. So Mary Ann invites Alice over after school and conducts a telepathy experiment between bites of some savoury Stilton shortbreads that Mary Ann’s mother baked that afternoon.
I introduced those shortbreads into the story because if any food will bring on telepathic communication (and exclamations of "these are so good!"), it’s Stilton shortbread. They’re also very satisfying to eat while reading fiction, with a few fresh cherries alongside, perhaps. And they’d go well with a glass of wine, in the garden, at five o’clock, while you finish reading a chapter before going inside to throw together a summery salad for dinner.
Savoury Stilton Pecan Shortbread Recipe
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup Stilton or other blue cheese
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup pecans, ground
1 tablespoon sugar
½ tsp salt
30 – 35 pecan halves, preferably toasted
1. In a stand mixer or using a handheld electric beater, cream butter with sugar and salt.
2. Beat in flour on low speed until well incorporated and mixture looks like coarse meal.
3. Mix crumbled blue cheese in bowl or mini food processor with ground pecans, then beat into flour mixture quickly, until evenly distributed.
4. Using hands, remove dough to floured cutting board and form into a ball. Cut ball in half and form each half into a cylinder about 1 ½ inches wide and 8-9 inches long. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in fridge for an hour or more.
5. At bake time, line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat oven to 325 degrees.
6. Slice dough into 1/3 inch rounds and place on baking sheet. They will not spread, so they need not be placed too far apart, but they should not be touching.
7. Press a pecan half into the top of each round.
8. Bake for 15-20 minutes until lightly browned on the edges and bottoms.
9. Let cool before serving.
Makes between 30-35 small cookies.
P.S. If you'd like to sample these Stilton shortbreads, I'm going to bring some along when I read from my novel at the Plasticine Poetry Reading at Paupers Pub (539 Bloor Street West, 2nd floor, Toronto) on Sunday July 27th. Readings begin at 6:30! Also on the bill: kickass writers Daniel Karasik and Dagmar Morgan, and an open mic.
The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.
The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book.
Kim Moritsugu is the author of six novels to date, including Looks Perfect, nominated for the Toronto Book Award; The Glenwood Treasure, shortlisted for the Arthur Ellis Best Crime Novel award; The Restoration of Emily, serialized on CBC Radio; and the just published comedy of suburban manners The Oakdale Dinner Club. She also leads a walking tour for Heritage Toronto and teaches creative writing through The Humber School for Writers.