Le Dauphin (or dolphin) means lots of things in France — the son of the king (when there was one), a beautiful region which includes the Alpes, and several delicious cheeses, including Fromager d’affinois which is a corruption of “dauphinois.” (I blatted on about this when I was making Gratin Dauphinois all the time and trying to do it without real cheese.)
A word about real vs. fake cheese
My blog tries to be lactose-free (to mirror my life!) but in seeking out cheese substitutes while still needing to eat a certain amount of protein each day, I have discovered that most fake cheeses, in addition to tasting terrible, also don’t contain much nutrition. Yes, very aged cheeses don’t contain much (or any) lactose but I’m still not really able to eat them. This a topic for another day, but I wanted to explain why I sometimes use real French cheese in my recipes (see Macaroni and Mimolette). It’s not just because the French pay me to eat their cheese! Although, that is a combo that’s hard to resist…
Speaking of good friends, my lovely friend Sabine is from the Dauphin. She’s a big reason I’m so fond of the cuisine of that region. She took me in when I was having an existential twenty-something crisis and she was living in Grenoble, the biggest city in the Rhône-Alpes (see above). She let me sleep on their beautiful couch in her gorgeous apartment in one of those old buildings with wrought iron railings and an elevator that is basically a glorified cage. She kept me sane. I owe her!
One of the outstanding cheeses of Sabine’s home region is Fromager D’Affinois. It has the tang of brie but with more richness — stopping just short of Saint André (which might as well be considered butter). It stands up to baking and infuses these biscuits with the flavor of France.
modified from Real Simple Brie Biscuits
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
A pinch or two of kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces or a stick of Earth Balance
6 ounces Fromager d’Affinois, cut into 1⁄2-inch pieces (including the rind)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives or green onions
3/4 cup half and half (I used lactose-free kind from Organic Valley)
Heat oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda.
Add the butter or Earth Balance and, using a pastry blender or a knife, cut it into smaller and smaller pieces until crumbly. Add the Fromager d’Affinois and green onions and toss to combine. Add the half and half and stir just until moistened. Don’t overwork or your biscuits will be tough.
At this point you can either roll out the dough and cut round biscuits or do what I did and drop them on the parchment-covered baking sheet for a free form scone-like appearance. I find this kind of dough incredibly sticky to work with but you may not. Remember to use ample flour and keep your kitchen cool if you go the rolling out route.
No matter which way you go, bake until golden– about 15 to 18 minutes. Yields a couple of dozen biscuits depending on size.
Biscuits daffinois: Printer-ready recipe