Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Cheese and Crackers

Our friends Debbie and David came over on Saturday and to start the night out right we open a nice bottle of Tempranillo and had some home made crackers and a selection of fine local cheese from where else? Why Saxelby Cheese of course!

Pasteurized Goats Milk with Jersey cream
Nettle Meadow Farm


Raw Goat and Cows Milk
Seal Cove Farm

Tomme de Brebis
Sheeps's Milk
Hope Farms

Cracker Recipe

I encourage great experimentation with this super easy recipe. Try all sorts of flours and mix and match. For example, add a 1/2 cup of corn meal to 1 1/2 cups bread flour or all purpose. Try different kinds of toppings, just be creative, it's a no fail, easy recipe and so much nicer then store bought. This recipe will make enough for two sheet pans worth.

Pre-heat the oven to 400. Line two cookie sheets with unbleached parchment paper.

In a bowl add 2 cups of flour (bread flour has more protein in it so it will make them crunchier, pastry flour has less protein so it will make them softer and all purpose will make them some where in between, I used all purpose)and 1 t of salt.

Add 8 T butter and incorporate with your fingers until the mixture resembles a course meal. Then gradually stir in 1/2 cup of heavy cream. The mixture should resemble a pie dough.

Roll out the dough on a lightly flour surface until as thin as you want 1/4" or so. Place the rolled dough on the parchment paper and lightly coat with olive oil. Sprinkle with Malddon salt (or any salt really, Malddon is really salty and comes in nice flakes, but sea salt would work just as well). You can add any variation of toppings, fresh herbs like rosemary or thyme, grated black pepper, sesame, flax or poppy seeds, finely grated Parmesan cheese or, or, or....knock yourself out!
These can be scored with a knife or pastry wheel or pizza wheel or you can just break them up after they are cooked, up to you.

Bake in the over for about 17 minutes or until brown and as crispy as you want. Let them cool for 5-10 minutes before breaking them up and serving them.

Also don't forget that a cheese and crackers course is a great opportunity to serve your home made pickles, relishes and chutney's. Add a bowl of soup and a salad and you have a wonderful, easy meal that will seem far fancier and more complicated that it actually is.

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