Recipe: Gizzi Erskine’s posh parmesan snowflakes
For the pickled beetroot
• 250ml white wine or cider vinegar
• 100g golden caster sugar
• 30g sea salt flakes
• 1 thyme sprig
• Pinch of chilli flakes
• 3 purple beetroots (or 1 purple, 1 golden, 1 candy), peeled and cut into small cubes
For the goats’ cheese mousse
• 220g chevre (firm goats’ cheese)
• 100ml double cream
• 1tsp truffle oil (optional)
• ½tsp really finely ground black pepper
For the Parmesan crisps
• A few thyme sprigs, leaves picked, chopped
• 120g Parmesan, grated
• Chervil/dill to garnish
1. First make the pickled beetroot. Heat the vinegar, sugar, salt, thyme and chilli flakes in a saucepan until the sugar has melted. Add the beetroot. Simmer for 10 minutes, then leave to cool to room temperature.
2. To make the mousse, blend the goats’ cheese, cream, truffle oil (if using), salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper in a food processor until smooth and light. Transfer to a piping bag.
3. For the Parmesan crisps, preheat the oven to 190°C/375° F/Gas 5. Line a baking tray. Mix thyme and Parmesan, then sprinkle on to baking parchment in rounds, about 3cm in diameter and a couple of millimetres thick. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove and allow to cool on the tray. You’ll need to do this in batches to get the full 24 – probably nine to 12 on each baking tray.
4. Just before you want to serve them, construct the canapés. Lay the Parmesan discs on a large but low-rimmed serving platter. Pipe a little of the mousse on to each disc and top with a small amount, around ½-⅓ tsp, of the pickled beetroot. Sprinkle a little chervil or dill over the top. Then all you have to do is try not to eat them all before your guests have a chance.