I like cheese and biscuits but unfortunately most of the crisp-breads and crackers you can buy are made from grains and therefore totally incompatible with Primal eating. Here is an excellent alternative to starch-based crackers that we actually prefer to anything shop-bought.
The starch-free, gluten-free, melt-in-the-mouth almond pastry used for today’s recipe is the brainchild of Jackie Le Tissier, author of Food Combining For Vegetarians. It has become almost legendary in our household.
Using ground almonds instead of starch-based flour makes for an almost no-carb pastry that really is a brilliant substitute when making savoury or sweet tarts, canapés and crackers for cheese.
There are many variations of nut and seed pastry you can bake using different ground nuts and seeds - walnuts, pecans, poppy, caraway and sunflower seeds are some alternatives. However, this is our favourite ‘combo’.
Sarah is a dab hand at making these moreish mouthfuls and, since she espied some smoked salmon and Champagne in my fridge this morning, volunteered to get cooking. There is method in her madness, after photographing them for Primal Plate, she hopes to get to eat some of them later with a customary glass of fizz!
It’s Burn’s night tonight, so why not? I’ll happily forego ‘neeps and tatties’ in favour of these traditionally peat-smoked Scottish salmon delicacies.
Smoked Salmon & Cream Cheese Canapés - Makes 20 canapés (with approx 30 crackers-for-cheese leftover)
200g (7oz) ground almonds
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp almond essence
25g (1oz) butter, melted
2-3 tbsp diluted milk (to dilute the milk, mix 2 tbsp milk & 2 tbsp water together)
200g cream cheese (I like Waitrose’s Organic Creamy Cheese because it’s soft enough to use it straight from the fridge)
150g best quality smoked salmon
Freshly ground black pepper
Pre-heat the oven to 190℃ / 375℉.
Combine the ground almonds, baking powder and almond essence in a bowl.
Mix in the melted butter and diluted milk, stir everything in together with a fork.
Bring the mixture together with your hand to achieve a firm but moist dough (the warmth of your hand will help to do this by releasing the oil in the nuts).
To stop the pastry from sticking to your work surface or rolling pin, roll out half the dough thinly between two sheets of cling film to 2-3mm thickness. Cut into rounds with a 1½ inch scone cutter and lift carefully onto a non-stick baking sheet. Gather up the offcuts and add them to the rest of the mix. Roll out the remaining dough and repeat as above.
Bake the biscuits for 8-12 minutes or until golden and firm in texture. Some of the crackers may be ready before others so remove these first onto a wire cooling rack, then put the rest back into the oven for another minute or two until they are all lightly and evenly browned.
Transfer to the wire rack and allow to cool completely.
When you are ready to serve the canapés, pipe or spoon about 1 tsp of cream cheese onto each cracker. Divide the smoked salmon into 20 even pieces and top each canapé with a twirl of smoked salmon. For a final flourish garnish with a sprig of fresh dill and a twist of freshly ground black pepper.
Serve immediately with drinks.
Carbohydrate 1g Protein 3g - per canapé