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Stilton and walnut sables with stilton mousse and cranberry Christmas canapés

Makes 25 pieces

For the sablés
■ 125g (41⁄2oz) flour
■ 1⁄4 tsp cayenne pepper
■ 50g (2oz) parmesan, finely grated
■ 125g (41⁄2oz) butter, softened
■ 50g (2oz) stilton, grated
■ 100g (31⁄2oz) walnuts, finely chopped
■ 1 egg yolk

For the mousse
■ 150g (5oz) stilton
■ 2 tsp crème fraîche
■ 1 tsp port (optional)
■ Salt

To serve
■ 50g (2oz) dried cranberries, extremely finely chopped

Sieve the flour and cayenne into a bowl; mix with the parmesan. Add the butter and stilton; rub in with your fingertips until it forms sand-like crumbs. Mix in the chopped walnuts and egg yolk: the dough should be slightly wet. Chill for an hour, then split into four. Roll each quarter into an even sausage shape about the diameter of a 10p piece. Chill again. At this point the dough can be frozen for future use and needs only 15 minutes’ defrosting before it’s ready to slice.

To cook the sablés, slice each dough sausage into rounds about 0.5cm (¼in) thick and bake on non-stick parchment for 9-10 minutes at 190°C/375°F/Gas Mark 5. Cool on a baking rack. They’ll keep in a biscuit tin for a few days.

Don’t use a food processor to make the mousse, as it’s liable to split if overworked. Simply cream the stilton by hand until it reaches a smooth texture, then fold in the crème fraîche and the port (if using) gradually until it reaches a dropping consistency. Season with salt as necessary.

To serve the Christmas canapés, pipe or spoon a small quantity of mousse on to each sablé and sprinkle dried cranberry on top.