Yesterday, under a sunny sky with golden ginkgo leaves raining down on me, I gathered yet another bucket of ginkgo nuts.
My purpose in going out there was to collect yellow ginkgo leaves to press. Last year even before we closed on the house, I bought a pair of wooden boxes covered with lacy skeletal magnolia leaves to use for storage, or plant stands, or coffee tables, or even extra seating. I like things with lots of possibilities. The delicate leaves, however, were not adhered very well to the wood, and because they are fragile and dry, they are breaking off. This was another good reason to buy the boxes: they have the potential to be personalized with leaves from our very own ginkgo tree. By the time we had the keys to the house, the leaves were dead, wet, and rotting. Now I’m picturing myself, in my studio, this winter, arranging and gluing leaves, making something fine to look at.
As for gathering more nuts, well, it must be my squirrel genes. Thanksgiving is coming up so I have been thinking about appetizers to bring to holiday dinners. I looked on-line for inspiration and found “Itadakimasu!” with blue cheese and ginkgo nut pastry balls, and Lisa’s Kitchen with bleu cheese crackers. There were other sites with walnuts included, and one with fig jam. Of course I had to give cheese crackers a try.
Savory Bleu Cheese Bites
- 4 ounces of bleu cheese, crumbled
- ½ cup of unsalted butter (1 stick), softened
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- 1 cup of all-purpose flour
- pinch of sea salt
- 1½ Tablespoon Tabasco Chipotle Pepper Sauce
- 32 ginkgo nuts
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a food processor, combine the cheese and butter. Add the salt and hot sauce. Gradually add the flour and cornstarch to form a soft dough. Shape the dough into a log and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Cut the log into quarters, then slice each piece into quarters; you’ll have 16 sections of dough. Cut each of them in half. Roll each of the 32 pieces into balls and flatten. Place a fresh ginkgo nut on each. I added a drop or two of hot sauce: I like it spicy! Bring the edges of the circle up to enclose the nut. I made some by leaving them as balls, and some I flattened into a more cookie-like shape.
Transfer the savory cookies to the prepared baking sheet.
Bake in a 375 degree oven for 10-15 minutes or until they begin to brown on the edges. I had to turn the ball shaped bites over to brown on both sides. The flatter style baked more evenly. Cool on a wire rack and serve.
Yields 32 savory bites.
Store in an airtight container.